Log Books Chronicled Buildup of Coal Dust in Mine

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

JULIAN, W.Va. (AP) - Handwritten logs obtained by The Associated Press show several places in a West Virginia mine needed a coating of pulverized stone to cover explosive coal dust shortly before an explosion killed 29 miners in April.

The logs portray Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine as a troubled operation that routinely had dangerous coatings of coal dust - the raw material for a deadly blast.

The problem persisted the day of the worst U.S. coal mine explosion in 40 years.

The final entry in one log quotes one of the victims who phoned the surface to report problems along several conveyer belts.

"Belt Needs Spot Cleaned & Dusted," the entry reads.

A second examiner noted several other belts needed dusting as well.

But Massey Energy official Shane Harvey says the mine appeared well dusted before the blast.

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