Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My heart goes out to them...

I thought I would share this news report because its a sad week here in Southern, WV. This happened really close to where Tim works, and Tim knew a few of the people who lost their lives in this disaster so its got him sad and shaken up. I want to thank everyone who has called or emailed etc to ask if Tim is doing ok. Our thoughts & prayers go out to all of those involved in this tragedy, we are so sorry for your loss!

MONTCOAL, W.Va. - A day after a deadly blast killed at least 25 miners, crews on Tuesday began drilling into the underground mine in order to vent dangerous gas and eventually enter in search of four missing miners.
But Gov. Joe Manchin said it could be Wednesday afternoon before much progress is made.
"I don't want to give anybody any false hope, but by golly, if I'm on that side of the table, and that's my father or my brother or my uncle or my cousins, I'm going to have hope," he said.

Officials said the missing miners might have been able to reach airtight chambers stocked with food, water and enough oxygen for four days. But rescue teams checked one of two chambers nearby, and it was empty. On Monday, the buildup of gases prevented them from reaching other chambers.

On Tuesday, bulldozers carved an access road to make way for drilling crews, who plan to dig four shafts to vent methane, a highly combustible gas that accumulates naturally in coal mines, and carbon monoxide from the blast site about 1,200 feet beneath the surface.
"The odds are long against us, it's tough," Manchin said earlier on NBC's TODAY Show.

All we have left is hope, and we're going to continue to do what we can," added Kevin Stricklin, an administrator for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. "But I'm just trying to be honest with everybody and say that the situation does look dire."
The huge underground explosion Monday afternoon instantly killed 25 coal miners at Massey Energy Co.'s Upper Big Branch mine — the worst U.S. mining disaster since 1984.
"Before you knew it, it was just like your ears stopped up, you couldn't hear and the next thing you know, it's just like you're just right in the middle of a tornado," miner Steve Smith, who heard the explosion but was able to escape, told ABC's "Good Morning America."
The mine, located about 30 miles south of Charleston, has a history of violations for not properly ventilating the highly combustible methane, safety officials said.

At least two survivors

Two miners who were on a vehicle taking them out of the shaft survived the blast, Manchin said. The other seven miners on the vehicle died, he said.

April 6: NBC's Ron Mott reports on the efforts to find any survivors.
Today showA statement on the Massey's Web site confirmed that two miners were taken to hospitals.
According to rescue workers, the force of the explosion was so great that some railroad tracks were "twisted like pretzels," Manchin said.
President Barack Obama offered his condolences at an Easter prayer breakfast in Washington on Tuesday and said the federal government is ready to assist with whatever the state needs.
He asked those in the audience to pray for "those who have been lost in this tragic accident" and said he hopes their families can "find comfort in the hard days ahead."

'Heartbroken'

Stricklin said officials had hoped some of the missing survived the initial blast Monday afternoon and were able to reach airtight chambers stocked with food, water and enough oxygen for them to live for four days. However, rescue teams checked one of two nearby and it was empty. The buildup of toxic methane gas — a constant problem at the mine — and of carbon monoxide prevented teams from reaching other chambers, officials said.
A total of 29 miners were in the area during a shift change when the blast happened, Stricklin said. Some may have died in the blast and others when they breathed in the gas-filled air, he said.
"Everybody's just heartbroken over this and the impact on these families," said mine safety director Joe Main, who planned to go to West Virginia.
It is the largest number of people killed in a U.S. mine since 1984, when 27 died in a fire at a mine in Orangeville, Utah. If the four missing bring the total to 29, it would be the most killed in a U.S. mine since a 1972 fire killed 91 in Kellogg, Idaho.
After a record low 34 deaths last year, Main said he and others believed coal mining had turned the corner on preventing fatal accidents.
"There's always danger. There's so many ways you can get hurt, or your life taken," said Gary Williams, a miner and pastor of a church near the southern West Virginia mine. "It's not something you dread every day, but there's always that danger. But for this area, it's the only way you're going to make a living."



Massey criticized by families

Some grieving relatives were angry because they found out their loved ones were among the dead from government officials or a company Web site, not from Massey Energy executives.
"They're supposed to be a big company," said Michelle McKinney, who found out from a local official at a nearby school that her 62-year-old father, Benny Willingham, died in the blast. "These guys, they took a chance every day to work and make them big. And they couldn't even call us."

McKinney said her husband is a miner too and her 16-year-old son doesn't want him to go back to work.
Willingham, who had mined for 30 years, the last 17 with Massey, was just five weeks from retiring and planned to take his wife on a cruise to the Virgin Islands next month.
Three members of the same family were also among the dead. Diana Davis said her husband, Timmy Davis, 51, died in the explosion along with his nephews, Josh Napper, 27, and Cory Davis, 20.
The elder Davis' son, Timmy Davis Jr., said his brother, Cody Davis, and an uncle, Tommy Davis, were also at the mine at the time and survived the blast. He said his brother was taking it particularly hard because he and their father were best friends.
Timmy Davis Jr. described his dad as passionate about the outdoors and the mines.
"He loved to work underground," the younger Davis said. "He loved that place."
"The families want closure," Gov. Manchin said at an earlier press conference. "They want names ... these families are good people. Hard working people. They understand the challenges. Right now I told them to do what they do best. Love each other and come together as a family."
He said some families were hoping for a miracle, and pointed to the 2006 Sago Mine explosion. Crews found miner Randal McCloy Jr. alive after he was trapped for more than 40 hours in atmosphere poisoned with carbon monoxide.
Massey Energy, a publicly traded company based in Richmond, Va., has 2.2 billion tons of coal reserves in southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia and Tennessee. It ranks among the nation's top five coal producers and is among the industry's most profitable.



1 comment:

Ginger said...

I am praying for the whole community there. And hoping for a miracle, too.