25 miners confirmed dead at Massey Energy site

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Twenty-five miners have died at Massey Energy Co.’s Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia from an underground explosion Monday afternoon.

An additional two miners were sent to the hospital and four miners remain missing.

Massey, which is based in Richmond, has reported that CEO Don Blankenship is at the West Virginia site.

“Tonight we mourn the deaths of our members at Massey Energy,” Blankenship said in a statement. “I want to offer my condolences to the miners’ families who lost loved ones at Upper Big Branch. And I want to thank the rescue teams and the Massey members who continue to work hard on behalf of our miners and their families.”

Rescue efforts have temporarily been called off because of built of methane underground.

The mine is run by Massey subsidiary Performance Coal Co. and is located about 30 miles south of Charleston, W.Va.

The incident is the worst mining accident since a Utah disaster in 1984.

Massey is one of the largest coal producers in the U.S. The Associated Press reported that the company has been fined $382,000 for violations related to its ventilation plan and equipment at Upper Big Branch.

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