Crews late Friday night found the bodies of 4 miners missing since Monday's explosion inside the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia. That brings the death toll to 29 in the worst coal mine disaster in the U.S. since 1970 when 38 were killed at Finley Coal Company in Hyden, Kentucky.
According to West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, crews found the bodies of the missing 4 miners near 18 others that had been spotted earlier this week. Crews didn't see the 4 earlier because of heavy dust and smoke. Now the task is to remove the bodies of 22 miners. There is no timetable. 7 had been recovered shortly after the explosion.
About 300 mourners packed a church yesterday for the funeral for Benny Willingham. He worked in the mines for 30 years and was a Vietnam War Veteran.
Meantime, Massey Energy says it will conduct extensive reviews of the explosion in the mine which is about 30 mines south of Charleston. The company's statement also responded to criticism about the safety record of the Upper Big Branch min which has been cited for numerous violations of federal rules. Massey says it does not condone any violation but the company also said the mine has less than one violation per day, which is about the national average.