The state of Kentucky said a mining accident took place on July 31 in Muhlenberg County, prompting an ongoing effort to recover the victim.

"Officials from the Kentucky Energy & Environment Cabinet (EEC), including Secretary Charles Snavely and Department for Natural Resources Commissioner John Small are on site at Paradise Mine in Central City, Kentucky where an accident occurred involving a 62-year-old welder/iron worker," the state said in a press release.

"At approximately 5:30 p.m. July 31, Richard L. Knapp, an employee of Fricke Management & Contracting, Murphysboro, IL, was constructing a form which would be used to fill a mine shaft with concrete, part of an effort to seal and close the mine," the release said. "A methane gas explosion in the shaft caused Knapp to fall. Recovery efforts are underway."

EEC mine personnel from across the state, as well as representatives from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and owner Kenamerican Resources, Inc. are on site to assist with the recovery operation. All operations at the mine were shut down Wednesday evening and remain closed.

“On behalf of the Cabinet, I want to extend my heartfelt prayers to the Knapp family as all parties work as swiftly as possible in the recovery effort,” Secretary Snavely said.