An explosion has been reported underground at Massey’s Performance Coal Company Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia at around 4PM today.
One report says workers are trapped after the explosion and a subsequent roof collapse, but there have been no reports of injuries or deaths related to the blast. A spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection confirmed that miners were trapped but was unable to confirm how many.
According to MSHA statistics, the mine has a non-fatal injury record worse than the national average, and at least two fatalities have occurred at the mine in the past decade. Massey Energy made a statement but declined to comment on the effects of the explosion, saying information regarding injuries or deaths “is uncertain at this time.” Ron Wooten, director of the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, confirmed that mine rescue teams and other emergency personnel were en route to the scene but also opted not to comment on possible injuries or deaths at the mine.
UPDATE: CNN is reporting six people have died and 21 are unaccounted for at the Raleigh County mine.