One worker is dead and rescue efforts continue for another worker two days after an 11-story building collapsed at a shuttered coal plant in eastern Kentucky, officials said.
The coal sorting structure at Martin Mine Prep Plant in Martin County collapsed at approximately 6:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, according to Kentucky Emergency Management.
Two workers became trapped "underneath multiple floors of concrete and steel," the agency said in a statement.
Rescue efforts have been underway since Tuesday night. Emergency workers located one of the workers and spoke with him, though he has since died, Marion County Sheriff John Kirk said Wednesday.
The second worker has yet to be located, Martin County Judge/Executive Dr. Lon Lafferty told reporters Thursday morning.
"We haven't given up hope," Lafferty said. "It remains a rescue operation."
Rescuers are now removing layers of the rubble in an attempt to find the worker, he said.
"We pray that those efforts will be successful," Lafferty said.
Rescuers attempted to free the trapped worker they had located but were unable to before he died, Lafferty said. His body has not yet been able to be removed from the rubble, Lafferty said Thursday.
Lafferty was unable to confirm who employed the two workers.
"It's horrific," he said of the scene. "Very large structure that was collapsed in on itself."
"Tremendous amount of weight, tremendous amount of force, tremendous pile of rubble there now," he continued.
Kentucky, we have some tough news out of Martin County to share. At least one of the workers trapped inside the collapsed coal preparation plant has died. Please pray for the family and loved ones of this individual. ^AB
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) November 1, 2023
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has declared a state of emergency in Martin County to mobilize state resources.
"Kentucky, keep praying -- but the scene is bad and we should be prepared for tough news out of Martin County," Beshear said in a statement.
Multiple agencies have responded to the scene and are assisting in rescue efforts, including the National Guard’s Special Tactics Squadron K-9 search dog unit.
Upward of 50 rescuers are on the scene, officials said Thursday.
The two workers were helping demolish the building at the abandoned mine site on Wolf Creek, according to Lafferty. A crew was working on the ground at the time of the collapse, he said.
Lafferty said in a social media post early Wednesday that he declared a local state of emergency in Martin County to help access additional rescue resources.
State Sen. Phillip Wheeler, whose district includes Martin County, said he is "deeply saddened" by news of the deadly collapse.
"This incident is a stark reminder of the inherent risks in any job and the unexpected nature of tragedy," he said in a statement. "We are prepared to assist those affected by loss or injury and their families and the local government in any way we can."
1 dead, 1 trapped in building collapse at shuttered Kentucky coal plant: Officials originally appeared on abcnews.go.com