UPDATE: 25 dead, 2 hurt, 4 missing after mine explosion
Updated on Tuesday, April 6, from the original April 5, report.
Twenty-five people are dead, two have been taken to hospitals, and four are still missing after an explosion at the Massey Energy Co. Upper Big Branch coal mine in Whitesville, W.V., yesterday afternoon, Don Blankenship, the company’s chairman and CEO, confirms.
These are updated numbers from Blankenship’s original confirmation of seven people dead and 19 unaccounted for.
Rescue efforts are currently suspended due to conditions underground. Rescue efforts will resume as soon as conditions allow, Massey Energy Co. says.
Massey Energy Company, headquartered in Richmond, Va., with operations in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia, is the largest coal producer in Central Appalachia.
The names of the dead and the injured were not being released at the time of this news post, pending the notification of the miners’ next-of-kin, Blankenship said.
“Our top priority is the safety of our miners and the well-being of their families,” Blankenship said in an April 5 written statement. following the incident. ”We are working diligently on rescue efforts and continue to partner with all of the appropriate agencies. Our prayers go out to the families of the miners. We want to assure the families of all the miners we are taking every action possible to locate and rescue those still missing.”
In an updated press statement on April 6, Blankenship said: “We mourn the deaths of our members at Massey Energy. 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.”
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued a statement in which she said: “My heartfelt condolences go out to the families, co-workers and communities that are mourning the loss of lives at the Upper Big Branch South Mine in Whitesville, W.Va. My thoughts and prayers are with them.”
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