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Dirt Slide ‘Looked Like a Flood Down the Hollow’

January 27, 1993

ERBACON, W.Va. (AP) _ A hillside collapsed into a timber-clearing crew, killing a man who tried to outrun the landslide, police said. Another man took refuge atop a bulldozer.

″It looked like a flood had come down the hollow,″ said state police Sgt. R.D. Hinkle. ″Except it wasn’t water. It was dirt and rock.″

Hinkle said dynamite blasts had been set off several hours before Tuesday’s slide as part of the road-clearing work.

The crew had left the area during the blasting, Hinkle said.

John Akers, 41, was killed when he tried to outrun the slide, Hinkle said.

Another member of the crew stayed safely astride his bulldozer. ″If he hadn’t stayed on it, it probably would have killed him,″ Hinkle said.

No one else was injured, police said. It was unclear how many workers were in the hollow, Hinkle said.

The road will lead to a Juliana Coal Co. strip mine near Erbacon, about 75 miles east of Charleston in central West Virginia.

The state Miners Health Safety and Training Office was investigating the accident.

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