West Virginia Mine Explosion Kills 6

A blast has occurred in a West Virginia mine owned by a subsidiary of Massey Energy Co., leaving at least six people dead, reports said. An employee of the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services was quoted by Reuters as saying that the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine caused several “injuries but we don’t know how many now.”

Massey has confirmed the explosion in its Montcoal mine, adding that 21 people have been declared missing. However, Massey spokesman Roger Hendriksen refused to divulge the exact number of people who were inside the mine when the blast occurred. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said rescue efforts are now underway.

According to the Associated Press, the Upper Big Branch Mine employs about 200 workers. An employee of the MSHA said the Big Branch mine has received several citations for negligence between January and March this year. Last year, the same mine was given 50 “unwarrantable failure citations,” the most serious notice that could be issued by safety inspectors. The mine is one of more than 50 operated by Massey all over the United States.