At least 25 killed in West Virginia mine blast

Disaster is worst in a U.S. mine in 25 years

An explosion that tore through the Upper Big Branch coal mine on Monday afternoon has claimed the lives of at least 25 workers, and the death toll may yet rise. Mine safety officials in Montcoal, West Virginia said four miners remained unaccounted for following the blast, which took place yesterday at 3 p.m. It’s the worst mine disaster in the U.S. since 27 were killed in a fire in a mine in Utah in December 1984. The cause of the blast in West Virginia isn’t known, but early speculation has centred on a possible build-up of methane gas that was somehow ignited. The safety record of Upper Big Branch is also under scrutiny, as the mine has recorded an injury rate worse than the national average for similar operations in six of the last 10 years.

New York Times

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