Rescuers find remains of West Virginia miners

Saturday, January 21, 2006

In Mellville, West Virginia, the remains of two miners have been found. The two miners had disappeared at the Alma coal mine when a conveyor belt caught fire.

"We have found the two miners we were looking for for [sic] the past 40 hours," said Doug Conaway, director of the state Office of Miners' Health Training and Safety. "Unfortunately we don't have a positive outcome."

Governor Joe Manchin, Massey Energy Chairman Don Blankenship and U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller went to a church where the victims families were waiting to tell them the news.

"For over what 45 hours we've been together with the families, we do not have the outcome that we had desired, that we had been hoping for. We have two brave miners that have perished. These two men who perished in this mine, the 12 men who perished in the Sago Mine, I can only say to each of those families ... that they have not died in vain," Manchin said at a press conference after receiving the news.

On Monday, Manchin plans to introduce legislation dealing with rapid responses in emergencies, electronic tracking technology and mandate reserve oxygen stations for underground miners.

Manchin is expected to go to Washington D.C. on Tuesday to discuss his proposals with West Virginia's congressional delegation.

The miners became separated from their team when fire broke out. Nineteen other miners were able to escape without injury.

The two have been identified as Don Bragg, 33, and Ellery "Elvis" Hatfield, 47. They had been missing since Saturday.