W, W.Va. (WTAP) – It’s been 11 years since the Upper Big Branch mining disaster. The disaster was the result of a coal-dust explosion that happened just as the victims were beginning their work shift.Initially, 25 men were known to have died, and the hope was that the four others made it to an emergency shelter. Tragically, that was not the case.
The aftermath sparked a lengthy and wide-ranging investigation about the incident and overall mining safety. Massey CEO Don Blankenship was convicted in December of 2015 of conspiracy to violate mine safety and health standards. He served one year in prison and paid a fine. It was the worst mine disaster in 40 years.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) issued the following statement on the upcoming 11th anniversary of the tragedy that killed 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine disaster in Whitesville, West Virginia.
“Eleven years ago, West Virginia suffered an immeasurable loss when 29 brave West Virginia coal miners were killed in the UBB mine disaster. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of those lost that day; I will never forget. My heart goes out to every West Virginian who lost loved ones in that horrible disaster. This anniversary is also a reminder that our coal miners’ health, safety, and security must continue to be our highest priority so no family ever suffers such an unimaginable loss. Gayle and I join all West Virginians in honoring the memory of those 29 brave miners and will continue to keep the miners’ families and loved ones in our thoughts and prayers.”
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Read More: April 5, 2021 is 11th anniversary of Upper Big Branch mining disaster