Columbus man dies in Junction City mining area cave-in - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Columbus man dies in Junction City mining area cave-in

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Paul Barnes. Source: family Paul Barnes. Source: family
Junction City, Ga -

A Columbus man died during a cave-in in Talbot County.

According to Coroner Clinton Crosby, 53-year-old Paul Barnes was killed instantly when large boulders of chalk fell on top of him at the Witched Stephen Plants a mining facility on Old Mauk Road along Georgia Highway 96.

Crosby says Barnes was trapped about 15 feet down into the pit.

The call came in around 10:40 a.m. Friday morning, Dec. 13. Crosby says the victim was working on a bank when the incident happened. About 50 workers from Columbus EMS and Fire were both on the scene trying to rescue Barnes.

Two tractor hoes were used to recover the body, which was pulled out of the pit at about 4 p.m.

The mining area is owned by Brown Brothers Sand Co.

Crosby also tells News Leader 9 that Barnes had been working for Brown Brothers Sand Co. for about 20 years.

Federal agencies OSHA and the Mining Safety and Health Administration are both investigating the cause of the collapse.

MSHA Representatives released a statement Monday: 

" [Barnes] was standing on kaolin material in the pit when the 20 to 30-foot high bank gave way and engulfed him... An inspection by the Mine Safety and Health Administration is underway.

Barnes' body has been sent to Atlanta for further autopsy.

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