April 6, 2010

Disaster Hits West Virginia

We've had a reader request to mention the horrific mining disaster that has hit the state of West Virginia. If you don't already know here's a brief summary of events

25 dead in W.Va. mine blast, worst since 1984

By LAWRENCE MESSINA, Associated Press Writer Lawrence Messina, Associated Press Writer – 32 mins ago

MONTCOAL, W.Va. – A huge underground explosion blamed on methane gas killed 25 miners in the worst U.S. coal mining disaster since 1984, and rescuers on Tuesday began a dangerous and possibly futile attempt to rescue four others still missing.

Crews were bulldozing an access road so they could drill 1,000 feet into the earth to release gases and make it safe to try to find the missing miners. They were feared dead after the Monday afternoon blast at a mine with a history of violations for not properly ventilating highly combustible methane.

Rescuers were being held back by poison gases that accumulated near the blast site, about 1.5 miles from the entrance to Massey Energy Co.'s sprawling Upper Big Branch mine.

They had to create an access road above it before they could begin drilling four shafts to release methane and carbon monoxide. Gov. Joe Manchin said at a news briefing Tuesday that it could be Wednesday night before the first hole is drilled.

"It's a slow process," Manchin said. "It's just going to be a slow process."

It had already been a long day for grieving relatives, some angry because they found out their loved ones were among the dead from government officials, not from Massey Energy executives.

West Virginia is coal country and also the home state of two of Keith Urban's band members, Jerry Flowers, from Pinch and Brian Nutter from Beckley, which is close to Montcoal. It is also personal for yours truly as I have two good longtime friends from West Virginia. One from Morgantown whose family on both sides were part of the mining industry until he and his sibling chose different career paths and escaped that hard life. His wife is from Beckley and much of their family still lives in the state.

Please pray for West, By God, Virginia.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you SM. This has been bothering me all day.

Hits too close to my heart , coming from a long line of coal miners too.

Post a Comment