Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

US journalist Peter Theo Curtis freed in Syria

Read more

WEB NEWS

"Ice Bucket Challenge" angers anti-abortion activists

Read more

ENCORE!

An art wonderland: A burnt-out piano, a bed in a box and a giant magic mushroom

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Historian Jean Garrigues: 'For the first time, Hollande knows what he is doing'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

New French economy minister signals changes to 35-hour week

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Valls ♥ Business

Read more

  • Russian troops have entered Ukraine, says Kiev

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • Erdogan's inauguration paves way for constitutional change

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

Americas

Workers killed in West Virginia coal mine explosion

Video by Guillaume MEYER

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-06

At least 25 people were killed and several still unaccounted for after an explosion at a coal mine in the state of West Virginia on Monday, according to officials.

REUTERS - The death toll rose to 25 and four coal miners were still missing deep underground on Tuesday after an explosion killed ripped through a West Virginia mine owned by Massey Energy.

The accident on Monday at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, also known as Whitesville, was one of the deadliest at a U.S. coal mine in recent years. The mine, owned by Massey’s Performance Coal subsidiary, is about 30 miles (48 km) south of the state capital, Charleston.

Mine officials said the death toll rose to 25 after rescuers discovered more bodies underground hours after the blast.

Kevin Strickland of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said four men were still missing.

« This is still a rescue operation, » said Strickland, adding, however, that there was little hope the miners would be found alive.

The mine has two emergency chambers stocked with food, water and enough air to survive for four days, and rescuers were still hoping the missing miners had made their way there.

Strickland said rescue teams were forced to pull back from the search area because of a continuing threat of methane gas underground. The rescuers intended to drill a borehole from the surface above the mine to try to reach the missing men.

Rescuers included officials from state and federal mine safety agencies and first responders from all levels of government, said Leslie Fitzwater, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Commerce.

Earlier, Massey CEO Don Blankenship said the company was « taking every action possible to locate and rescue those still missing. »

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin said on his website: »For those families who are still waiting for news on their missing loved ones, I want them to know that we are doing everything possible in cooperation with federal officials and the company to get our miners out as quickly and safely as possible. »

Massey, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, is the largest coal producer in Central Appalachia with operations in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia.

SAFETY VIOLATIONS

Massey said on its website its accident rate fell to an all-time low for the company in 2009. It said its safety record last year was stronger than the industry average for the sixth consecutive year.

But, according to federal records, the Upper Big Branch Mine has had three fatalities since 1998 and has a worse than average injury rate over the last 10 years. Two of the miners died in roof collapses in 1998 and 2001, while a third was electrocuted in 2003 when repairing an underground car.

Ellen Smith, the editor of Mine Safety and Health News, said the Upper Big Branch mine had been repeatedly cited for safety violations going back years.

The mine, which employs just over 200 people, uses the « longwall mining » method in to tear coal from a lengthy face, leading the ground behind it to collapse. Critics say the method can cause surface subsidence and damage to buildings.

In the worst coal mine disaster in U.S. history, 362 miners died in an explosion in 1906 in West Virginia’s Monongah mine.

In January 2006, 12 miners died after an explosion in the Sago Mine, run by International Mines Corp in Tallsmansville, West Virginia, according to the U.S. Mine Rescue Association.

Date created : 2010-04-06

COMMENT(S)