Coal Tattoo

7 dead, 19 still missing in W.Va. mine disaster

Mine Explosion

Emergency vehicles leave the entrance to Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Coal Mine Monday, April 5, 2010 in Montcoal, W.Va. after an explosion at the underground coal mine. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)

Mine ExplosionJenny Waycaster waits for news of her son, Ken Lambert, following a mining accident near Montcoal, W.Va. Monday, April 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Bob Bird)

Here’s the terrible news from Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship:

“It is with a heavy heart that Massey Energy confirms at this hour 7 dead and 19 miners unaccounted for. However, until we are able to notify next-of-kin, we will not release their names.

“Our top priority is the safety of our miners and the well-being of their families. We are working diligently on rescue efforts and continue to partner with all of the appropriate agencies.

“Our prayers go out to the families of the miners. We want to assure the families of all the miners we are taking every action possible to locate and rescue those still missing,” said Blankenship.

We’ll be updating this story on the Gazette’s Web site, and I’ll be blogging as time allows.