Saturday, April 10, 2010

Crews begin removing bodies from W.Va. coal mine

clipped from

MONTCOAL, W.Va. – Crews on Saturday began the bleak task of carrying bodies out of a coal mine shattered by an explosion that left 29 men dead, only hours after families' hopes were crushed when they found out none of the workers survived.

It had been an excruciating week for friends holding onto faint hopes that their missing miners were somehow alive. Seven bodies had already been removed soon after the blast Monday at Massey Energy Co.'s Upper Big Branch mine, the worst U.S. coal mining disaster since a 1970 explosion killed 38 in Hyden, Ky.

Federal mine safety officials said crews were working to get the bodies out but did not know how long that would take.

The discovery of the final four bodies ended days of futile searches by rescue crews that repeatedly battled a volatile mix of poisonous gases and thick smoke that turned them back on three previous attempts.
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