Owner of coal mine says it was clear of gases before deadly explosion

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Air samples did not show high levels of
explosive gases just before an explosion in a West Virginia coal
mine that killed 29 workers, the mine's owner said Monday.
Massey Energy Co. board director Stanley Suboleski said the
samples were taken by a foreman as part of a shift change exam of
the mine. The examination also showed that air flow in the Upper
Big Branch mine was fine.
Suboleski said all indications were that "at the start of the
shift, everything was OK." The explosion occurred in the late
afternoon of April 5.
Two other miners were injured in the explosion at the Upper Big
Branch mine.
Massey held a news conference Monday to address several issues
related to the explosion. The news conference was held a day after
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Gov. Joe
Manchin led a memorial for the fallen miners.
Massey Board Director Bobby Inman called allegations that the
company put profits over safety a "big lie." He blamed such
sentiment on the United Mine Workers' leaders and plaintiffs
Massey is facing a shareholder lawsuit stemming from the
explosion, as well as wrongful death litigation and mounting
scrutiny from regulators.

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

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