One year ago tonight, mine rescuers discovered the remains of the last four missing coal miners deep inside Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.
There had been hope that the four had made it to refuge chambers and were still alive. Optimistic rescuers carried four sets of breathing apparatus with them, hoping they would be used to bring the miners safely to the surface. The bodies of 25 other miners were found four days earlier.
A new lawsuit filed by the widow of a victim of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster runs counter to claims by government officials that all but one of the 29 miners killed died instantly and without suffering.
The lawsuit was filed in the circuit court in Boone County, W.Va., by Geneva Lynch. Her husband, William Roosevelt Lynch, was among nine Massey Energy coal miners riding in a mantrip — or shuttle car — within two miles of the entrance of the mine when the April 5, 2010, explosion occurred.
But, like the first, the new two-count criminal "information" just filed by the U.S. Attorney in Charleston, W. Va., does not directly involve the April 5 blast at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine, which killed 29 mine workers and injured two others.
Ten days after the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported its working theory about the deadly Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion, mine owner Massey Energy presented its latest findings Friday to reporters and the families of the 29 miners killed.
"Our conclusion to date is different," said Massey Vice President and General Counsel Shane Harvey.