25 dead, four missing in W.Va. mine explosion

MONTCOAL, W.Va. (AP) - Four coal miners are missing after an
explosion that killed 25 in West Virginia in the worst U.S. mining
disaster in more than two decades.

Poison gases are blocking rescuers today from resuming their
search.

Rescuers began drilling three deep holes to vent methane and
carbon monoxide from the mine so that search teams can go back in.

But Gov. Joe Manchin says it will take until evening to get the
first hole done and see if the mine air will allow re-entry.

The blast rocked Massey Energy Co.'s sprawling Upper Big Branch
mine, about 30 miles south of Charleston, yesterday afternoon.

The cause of the blast is not know. But safety officials say the
operation run by Massey subsidiary Performance Coal Co. has a
history of violations for not properly ventilating highly
combustible methane gas.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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