MARTIN COUNTY, KY (WOWK) — The bodies of Billy Ray Daniels and Alvin Nees, the two men who died in a coal preparation plant collapse that happened Tuesday evening, were recovered around 8 p.m. on Friday, according to Jessica “Jesse” Elbouab with Kentucky Emergency Management.
Martin County Judge Executive Dr. Lon Lafferty on Thursday identified the two men as Daniels, who was the first to be reported as deceased, and Nees.
The search for the two men was finished around three days after the collapse, which Dr. Lafferty said was first called in around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Crews from Martin, Pike and Floyd counties responded.
The two men, both from Pike County and believed to be working for Skeens Contracting from Pikeville, were trapped under tons of concrete and steel in the building, a former coal preparation plant, at Martin Mine Prep Plant near Middlefork Wolfe Creek Road, according to Judge Executive Lafferty. Gov. Andy Beshear declared a State of Emergency following the collapse.
Lafferty described the scene as “horrific” and compared it to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and Jeremy Slinker, Director of Kentucky Emergency Management, compared it to a candle factory disaster where a number of workers died when a tornado leveled the building.
The Associated Press reported that Slinker said this could possibly be the largest structural collapse in Kentucky history.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.