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13 Feared Dead In US Mining Accident

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10 August, 2005ICEM News release No. 69/2001

Twelve miners are missing, presumed dead, after a series of large methane explosions at an American coalmine on Sunday.

Fires are still burning inside the methane-filled mine and searches cannot yet resume, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) said today.

However, little hope remains for the missing miners, ten of whom had re-entered the mine after the first explosion in an attempt to rescue colleagues. The accident happened at Jim Walters Resources No. 5 coalmine in Brookwood, Alabama.

UMWA President Cecil Roberts said that the miners' "heroic efforts" were "a true testament to their courage and unwavering dedication to others working in a profession that daily puts them face to face with inherent danger."

The first blast is thought to have happened after rocks loosened in a roof collapse hit a battery charger, causing sparks that ignited the methane. The miners who went back in search of their colleague were probably caught by the second explosion, which occurred 45 minutes later. The mine is North America's deepest vertical shaft coal pit, and employs 402 people.

A miner who was rescued alive, but badly burned, died of his injuries yesterday. Three other injured miners are being treated in hospital.

If the death toll of 13 is confirmed, this will have been America's worst mining accident in 17 years.


US's UMWA Information on the Mining Disaster:

Press Release: 01/22/2003 - UMWA Investigation Report Details Conditions Leading to the September 2001 Brookwood (Ala.) Mine Disaster - Union Calls on MSHA to Reopen its Investigation into the Disaster

UMWA Report on Jim Walter Resources #5 Mine Disaster (Under 2mb PDF)
Ed. Note: Updated PDF as of 2/5/03. Filesize reduced to under 2mb.


"Whether they were firefighters from Brooklyn, New York, or miners from Brookwood, Alabama, America's heroes are mostly ordinary people who do extraordinary things with extraordinary courage"
Elaine Chao, U.S. Secretary of Labor


On September 23rd, two explosions rocked the Jim Walter No. 5 underground mine in Brookwood, Alabama. Thirteen coal miners were killed in the explosions, twelve of whom had rushed into the mine to save their trapped co-workers. This is the single largest coal mining disaster in the United States since 1984.
You can help the families of this tragedy by sending your contributions to:

United Mine Workers of America L.U. 2368 Fund
P.O. Box 99
Brookwood, Alabama 35444

UMWA's Fallen Brothers:

Gaston Adams Jr. 56
Ray Ashworth 53
Nelson Banks 52
Dave Blevins 52
Clarence Boyd 38
Wendell Johnson 52
John Knox 44
Dennis Mobley 56
Charles Nail 59
Joe Riggs 51
Charles Smith 44
Joe Sorah 46
Terry Stewart


Tony Key 49
Michael McIe NA
Skip Palmer NA