Skip to main content

I was making a mess of my previous diary so decided to start fresh with a new one.

I had also hoped to start with some good news, any news, on potential survivors of the WV mine explosion this afternoon, but alas CNN is now reporting 25 miners were killed and 4 are still missing.

The explosion occured at Massey Energy subsidiary Performance Coal Co.'s Upper Big Branch Mine-South in Raleigh County, West Virginia.

CNN just reported (thanks to noweasels):

The death toll from Monday's West Virginia mine explosion rose to 25 early Tuesday morning, the mining company said.

Rescue efforts to reach four miners who were still missing at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia, were suspended due to conditions underground -- but were expected to resume as soon as conditions allow, said the Massey Energy Company.

Kevin Stricklin of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said that a number of SCSR breathing devices were taken from an area inside the mine after the blast.

This, Stricklin, said gave officials hope that miners who survived the initial explosion may have made their way to the cache and taken them to help them breathe easier.

He could not say how many such devices were taken.

http://www.cnn.com/...

Another press briefing is scheduled for 3 a.m.

The identities of the killed, injured or missing have not been released to the general media. However, AP is reporting that Benny R. Willingham, 62, who was five weeks away from retiring, was among those killed. He had mined for 30 years, the last 17 with Massey. Family members were angry because they learned of Willingham's death after reading it on a list Massey posted, instead of being contacted by the mining company, which said it wouldn't release names until next of kin were notified.

The West Virginia Gazette is reporting that the explosion probably occurred near shift change as a crew was exiting the operation in an underground mine vehicle. (The exact time, as reported by various news sources has been anywhere between 3 - 4:30 pm.) Two crews and a safety inspector who had been working alone were believed trapped about a mile and a half inside the mine entrance, and rescuers were hoping that they made it to one of two nearby airtight chambers, which would give them enough air, food and water to last up to four days. But the blast knocked out all underground communications, and there was conflicting information late Monday night about whether any of the nine rescue teams said to be on site had actually entered the mine yet.

The mine is in a very remote area and cell phone service is also very spotty.

The cause of the explosion has also not been determined. However, several experts have indicated the explosion was probably caused by methane gas that built up inside a sealed area of the mine or that leaked through mine seals. The mine was recently cited for ventilation and dust problems, as well as some other serious safety infractions. Methane gas is the most common cause of mine explosions.

West Virginia Gazette also reported:

Outside the Upper Big Branch site, witnesses reported seeing smoke billowing from the mine, and several miners apparently escaped after donning their emergency breathing devices... A crew of miners exiting on a mantrip felt a large blast of air. The men were not seriously harmed and went back to try to rescue their fellow workers, Stricklin said. They found nine workers, seven of whom were dead. Two others were airlifted out of the area for medical treatment...More than two dozen ambulances were staged in Whitesville, and crowds of residents lined the streets waiting for word on the potential disaster. Authorities had gathered families of the miners at a Baptist church in Whitesville and at a training building on the mine property, officials said.

http://wvgazette.com/...

Massey Energy, and its CEO Don Blankenship, are well known to dKosers. Massey is extremely anti-union and has a history of violent clashes with organized labor. It also has a long history of safety violations, worker injury and worker deaths. In the past year alone, federal inspectors  cited Massey and fined the company more than $382,000 for repeated serious violations involving its ventilation plan and equipment at the Upper Big Branch site run by subsidiary Performance Coal Co. The violations also cover failing to follow the plan, allowing combustible coal dust to pile up, and having improper firefighting equipment. Time will tell whether safety violations were the cause of today's tragic events.

All we can do now is pray and wait.

Originally posted to Mr Rick on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 10:42 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, trillian, Terri, filkertom, Buckeye BattleCry, kaleidescope, Powered Grace, SallyCat, bronte17, DickCheneyBeforeHeDicksYou, khloemi, enough already, hopeful, danthrax, mwk, pat bunny, jaywillie, PaulVA, churchylafemme, Scarce, Greg in TN, Matt Esler, zett, Silverbird, Hillbilly Dem, KayCeSF, murrayewv, rapala, G2geek, Recovering Southern Baptist, tovan, spiceagony, historys mysteries, marina, radarlady, escapee, yuriwho, PBen, frandor55, truong son traveler, stitchmd, SaraBeth, Pam from Calif, jimstaro, Burned, Pluto, Eileen B, Cory Bantic, Ekaterin, Alan Arizona, Land of Enchantment, terjeanderson, noweasels, CJnyc, begone, gwilson, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Kingsmeg, sherlyle, Clytemnestra, koNko, mango, wild hair, WV TN DEM, imabluemerkin, justalittlebitcrazy, profh, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, cherryXXX69, AntKat, possum, aravir, DrWolfy, FishOutofWater, DWG, Tenn Wisc Dem, Blue South, jayden, stratocasterman, SeaTurtle, jhop7, yella dawg, JML9999, Empower Ink, Louisiana Fiddle Gal, rontun, NewDealer, CDH in Brooklyn, lineatus, wvablue, beltane, bluesheep, Thought Crime, S C B, get the red out, Zulia, ekyprogressive, princess k, wv voice of reason, maggiejean, SciMathGuy, 1BQ, Calouste, greengemini, bsmechanic, Partisan Progressive, velvet blasphemy, MKSinSA, ZilV, Rick in Oz, Lopez99, realwischeese, maxzj05, sherijr, Tricky, dward987, collardgreens, BrighidG, mamamorgaine, miss SPED, Vacationland, LaughingPlanet, jethrock, Proud Mom and Grandma, elginblt, SlackwareGrrl, Kristina40, aggie98, sluggahjells, Unenergy, Casual Wednesday, CA Berkeley WV, wwjjd, Actbriniel, AuroraDawn, vc2, BlueJessamine, Situational Lefty, trs, Poycer, mrsgoo, Haf2Read, marleycat, BarackStarObama, felldestroyed, JWK, Marihilda, balmerUSA, DRo, Nena20409, nutbutter, Just Keep it Simple Stupid, OHknighty, pineapple head joe, Joieau, Socratic Method

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site