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Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Indiana Mining Accident

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The family of a man who plunged 500 feet to his death in a coal mine air shaft has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, in U.S. District Court seeking $9.5 million in damages, against the company he helped found that was building the shaft.

The suit alleges Frontier-Kemper Constructors Inc. was negligent in providing safety measures for the man, 66, and two other men who fell from a construction bucket during an August tour of the mining shaft.

The complaint says Frontier-Kemper failed to provide safety belts or harnesses as fall protection, and that a 20-foot nylon sling and shackle attached to the bottom of the bucket should have been removed when the three men entered the bucket to be lowered.

The man, of Greybull, Wyoming, was visiting the site about 30 miles north of Evansville as part of a 30th anniversary celebration of the merger that formed the company. He founded Frontier Construction in 1965 and the companies merged in 1977.

A report by the Indiana Bureau of Mines and Mine Safety in March found that the bucket carrying the men had traveled about 20 feet when the sling became wedged in a door and tipped the bucket. The men died of blunt impact trauma.