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West Virginia Coal Mine Explosion Worst Since 1984

MONTCOAL, W.Va. (AP) - Safety officials say chances are slim of finding four workers alive in a West Virginia coal mine where a blast killed 25 in the worst U.S. mine disaster in more than two decades.

Toxic gases chased rescue teams from the mine early Tuesday.

Safety officials say some miners were killed by the blast Monday afternoon while others died from breathing toxic air.

Kevin Stricklin, an administrator for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, says the situation for those missing was dire but rescuers would try to go back after the mine was ventilated. Gov. Joe Manchin says families are still hoping for a miracle.

Massey Energy Co.'s sprawling Upper Big Branch mine about 30 miles south of Charleston has a history of serious violations involving its plan for ventilating combustible methane gas.


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