The tragedy in West Virginia is certainly hitting home with many in the mining community here in Lexington.
Bill Bissett, President of the Kentucky Coal Association released a statement Tuesday says:
“We are monitoring the situation in West Virginia closely. On behalf of Kentucky’s 17,000 miners and their families, our hearts and prayers go out to everyone involved and we remain hopeful that the missing miners will be located.”
The tragedy comes after the safest year in mining on record in the United States. In 2009, 34 miners were killed on the job. That is the lowest number in nearly a century.
The most recent mining tragedies include the deaths of six miners in Utah in 2007, the 2006 methane explosion at the Sago mine in West Virginia in 2006 that killed twelve, and the five miners that were killed during an explosion at Kentucky Darby Mine Number One in 2006.
The lone survivor of that explosion in Harlan County lobbied for a protective shelter stocked with oxygen for miners if they become trapped.