Very sad. Very, very sad. We all knew that the chances were extremely remote, but we always hope.
Searchers found four bodies deep in a West Virginia coal mine shattered by an explosion, raising the death toll to 29 and ending an excruciating week for families holding onto faint hopes that their missing miners had somehow survived.
Crews are to soon begin the bleak task of carrying out 22 bodies from Massey Energy Co.’s Upper Big Branch mine, though officials said Saturday no timetable has been set. Seven bodies were removed after Monday’s blast, making it the worst U.S. coal mining disaster since a 1970 explosion killed 38 in Hyden, Ky.
The investigation into the company that has an extensive list of safety violations at the mine also will begin with President Barack Obama wanting some answers in a report next week and Congress planning hearings.
The discovery of the final four bodies ended days of futile searches by rescue crews that repeatedly battled a volatile mix of poisonous gases and thick smoke that turned them back on three previous attempts. The massive blast also left the inside of the mine a mess of twisted tracks, boulders and debris. (more…)