A mine explosion in West Virginia killed 25 on Monday, April 5, 2010. The Massey Energy Company, a Richmond, Virginia based company, confirmed that an explosion at it's Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia killed 25 of the 31 workers on the site at the time of the blast. The explosion is one of the worst in United States history. With no known cause of the explosion and rescue efforts thwarted due to underground safety concerns, the four miners still missing and feared dead. Mine Safety and Health administration official Kevin Stricklin asserted "All we have left is hope, and we're going to continue to do what we can. But I'm just trying to be honest with everybody and say that the situation does look dire."
High levels of methane gas have postponed attempts to save those still trapped within the metallurgical coal mine. Methane gas may have caused the initial explosion. Monday's explosion within the mine of the largest coal producer in Central Appalachia, magnifies the need for an overhaul in mining safety procedures. Recently, in the past few years, Massey Energy has been citied on multiple instances for safety violations not limited to but including issues like mine ventilation (to better control methane gas) and dust.
Massey Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Don Blankenship issued a statement from the company on Monday evening: "Tonight we mourn the deaths of our members at Massey Energy." Blankenship furthered with condolences to friends and family of the deceased.
Authorities are still investigating the explosion.