Raleigh County community gathers on 11th anniversary of Upper Big Branch explosion

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – 11 years ago today, 29 miners were killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in Raleigh County.

Today in Beckley, a ceremony to remember those who died. The victims’ names were read aloud, and a ringing bell marked each of the 29 miners killed on April 5, 2010.
Federal mine safety investigators determined that a buildup of methane gas and coal dust led to the explosion at the Massey energy-owned mine.

“It’s very emotional,” said First Responder Kevin Price. “Many of those that we lost, they were my friends. I knew of them. I knew their family members. So, being a small community as Beckley and Raleigh County is, we all had a connection.”

Massey CEO Don Blankenship was convicted in December of 2015 of conspiracy to violate mine safety and health standards. He served one year in prison and paid a fine. It was the worst mine disaster in 40 years.

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