12 dead, more missing in mine explosion - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: 25 dead, more missing in mine explosion



Montcoal, W.Va. (WVVA) - Poison gases are stopping rescue teams from furthering their search for the remaining four missing coal mine workers.

Twenty-five miners have died in the worst mine explosion in more than two decades at Big Upper Branch mine in Whitesville, W.Va. The blast occurred some time around 3:30 p.m. Monday. 

Three large holes are being drilled to help vent methane and carbon monoxide from the mine to allow rescuers to enter safely. Governor Manchin predicts the process will take until evening to drill the first hole.

The mine, owned by Massey Energy Company, is located about 30 miles south of Charleston, W.Va.

The cause of the explosion is not known at this time; however, safety officials say there has been a history of violations at the location for not correctly ventilating highly combustible methane gas.

WVVA News will be sending updates through Breaking News text alerts throughout the day. Sign-up here to make sure you receive rescue updates concerning the missing miners. 


JULIAN, WV, April 6, 2010 – Massey Energy Company (NYSE:MEE) is confirming twenty-five fatalities at its Upper Big Branch Mine, resulting from a tragic explosion.   Additionally, two miners were transported earlier to hospitals and four miners are still missing at this time.  Rescue efforts are currently suspended due to conditions underground.  Rescue efforts will resume as soon as conditions allow.

Massey Chairman and CEO Don Blankenship is on site at the Upper Big Branch mine.  Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Adkins and Vice President of Safety & Health, Elizabeth Chamberlin are coordinating Massey's search and rescue efforts with State and Federal officials.    

"Tonight we mourn the deaths of our members at Massey Energy," said Don Blankenship. "I want to offer my condolences to the miners' families who lost loved ones at Upper Big Branch. And I want to thank the rescue teams and the Massey members who continue to work hard on behalf of our miners and their families."

Massey Energy Company, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, with operations in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia, is the largest coal producer in Central Appalachia and is included in the S&P 500 Index.



MONTCOAL, W.Va. (AP) -- A mine safety administrator says 12 workers are dead and more trapped deep underground after a explosion rocked a remote West Virginia coal mine.

The explosion happened about 3 p.m. Monday at Massey Energy Co.'s sprawling Upper Big Branch mine about 30 miles south of Charleston.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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