Wednesday, April 6, 2011

One Year Anniversary Memorial Service To Be Held For 29 West Virigina Miners Killed

(CNN) -- Acting West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will join the families of the 29 men who perished in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine a year ago Tuesday.

The April 5, 2010, explosion was the worst mining disaster in the United States since 1972, when 91 miners died in a fire at the Sunshine Mine in Kellogg, Idaho.

The Big Branch mine -- owned by Massey Energy -- had a spotty safety record prior to last year's explosion, with three deaths reported over the previous 12 years.

Most of the blast victims were working in an area where long-wall cutting was taking place. The technique uses a large grinder to extract coal and creates large amounts of coal dust and methane gas, both of which are explosive.

The remembrance ceremony will take place Tuesday in Whitesville, which is located 30 miles south of Charleston. Tomblin will be joined by other state dignitaries, his office said.

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