Coal mining communities are unfortunately all too familiar with deaths like these.
59News went to Sophia on Friday to speak with coal miners and their families about a fatal accident at the Affinity Mine in Sofia on Thursday, Feb. 7.
"I believe that coal mining is just a terribly dangerous job," said Phyllis Rose, grandmother of two coal miners.
Brandon Redden of Sophia added, "It's one of the most dangerous jobs I can think of, next to crab fishing. That's about the only one worse is those crab fishermen."
Tim Sharder of Beckley has a brother who is a coal miner. He said accidents like the one in Sophia make him scared for his brothers safety.
"It's just really hard, every time he goes to work, anytime any of them go to work, you just never know. You just never know what's going to happen down there," said Shrader.
What else can be done to reduce the large number of fatalities? One man who works in Sophia just right down the road from Affinity mine, told 59News just how dangerous mining is.
"It's not good, I mean that could have been someone I knew, it could have been anyone. It's a common thing. It's so dangerous you couldn't ever pay me to go into the mines I would never do that, no matter how much you paid me."
But others had quite a different reaction. One lady compared mining to any other job.
She told 59News that coal is God's gift of vocation to West Virginia and believes any job, even driving in a vehicle every day, is just as dangerous.
"I don't feel like mining is any worse than any other job. You can be killed walking on the side of the road or even reporting the weather."
Redden said that safety is every West Virginian's main concern.
"Everybody is sympathetic towards the workers because that's what we care about. We don't care about how much coal we are making whoever. We care about keeping our guys safe."