West Virginia Coal Mine: 2 Dead at Facility Cited for Safety Issues

Image: West Virginia Coal Mine: 2 Dead at Facility Cited for Safety Issues Vehicles are parked outside the Brody Mine No.1 in Wharton, W.Va., Tuesday May 13, 2014.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 07:43 AM

By Ken Mandel

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A West Virginia coal mine accident killed two men Monday when they became trapped after a sudden outburst of gas, according to the federal Mining Safety and Health Administration.

The ground failure occurred at around 9 p.m. local time Monday at Brody Mine No. 1 in Boone County in the southwest part of West Virginia. The miners' bodies have since been recovered, MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere told The Associated Press in an email Tuesday morning.

The Charleston Gazette identified the victims as Eric D. Legg, 48, and Gary P. Hensley, 46. No other injuries have occurred, and no additional miners were reported trapped.

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Owned by St. Louis-based Patriot Coal, the mine was cited in October as a repeat offender with regard to federal health and safety regulations during the 12-month period that ended Aug. 31. These alleged violations included methane hazards, emergency preparedness/escape way hazards, and roof hazards, according to USA Today.

In a report earlier this month, the MSHA said that eight miners died in U.S. mining accidents from January to April 2014 — three died in coal mining accidents and five in metal and nonmetal mining accidents. The agency also saw a "spike" in deaths in the second quarter.

Mining fatalities are nothing new in West Virginia. The Upper Big Branch Mine disaster occurred in April 2010 in Raleigh County, West Virginia, killing 29 of 31 miners. That disaster was the worst in the U.S. since a 1970 accident in which 38 miners were killed at Finley Coal Company's No. 15 and 16 mines in Hyden, Kentucky.

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