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Wreaths placed to honor 29 miners killed in Upper Big Branch disaster

(WTAP)
Published: Apr. 5, 2017 at 1:46 PM EDT
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UPDATE: 4/5/19 2:25 P.M.

Wreaths are being place at a memorial for 29 West Virginia coal miners killed nine years ago in the the Upper Big Branch disaster.

The accident at the mine in Raleigh County on April 5, 2010, is among the worst in U.S. history.

A Facebook page dedicated to the memorial in Whitesville says wreaths are being placed from dawn to dusk and invites to the public to visit.

The disaster was the result of a coal-dust explosion that happened just as the victims’ were beginning their work shift.

Initially, 25 men were known to have died, and the hope was that the four others made it to an emergency shelter. Tragically, that was not the case.

The aftermath sparked a lengthy and wide-ranging investigation about the incident and overall mining safety.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, issued the following statement on Friday:

“Nine years ago today, we lost 29 miners in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. This event was a complete tragedy for not only the miners’ who lost their lives and their families but for the entire state of West Virginia. I have always said that the death of one miner on the job is too many. Since my time as Governor, I have been dedicated to improving safety conditions in our mines, so that tragedies like these and others, never happen again. I hope today that every West Virginian will remember the 29 miners that died that day and pray for their families.”


ORIGINAL STORY 4/5/17

April 5 marks the seven year anniversary of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in Whitesville, WV.

The disaster killed 29 coal miners after an explosion inside of the mine.

A memorial was built in Whitesville to honor the lives of the miners who died.

Coal from the Upper Big Branch Mine is placed at the memorial.

W.Va. Senator Joe Manchin released the following statement Wednesday:

“Today our hearts are heavy with the sad memory of the tragic Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster. Seven years ago, 29 brave West Virginia miners went to work and never returned home to their loved ones. In the aftermath of that horrible day, through moments of hope and despair, all West Virginians and the nation grieved with the miners’ families.

“On this sad anniversary, we are reminded that no family or community should ever endure a preventable tragedy like the one at Upper Big Branch again. It is critical that we continue to improve our safety standards so that our miners’ lives are never in jeopardy and I remain absolutely and totally committed to the health and safety of every worker.

“Every man or woman who goes to work in the morning should go with the knowledge that they will return home safely to their families at the end of the day. Gayle and I join all West Virginians in grieving the loss of our miners and honoring those miners’ memories as we pray for the continued strength for their families.”

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