Two miners have died after a roofing collapse at a West Virginia coal mine, police confirmed on Tuesday.
Local TV station WBOY-TV reports that emergency crews responded to the accident at the Boone County mine on Monday night at 10:30 pm EST. Families of the miners were seen gathered at the entrance gate shortly after news of the collapse had spread.
The state Mine Safety Office has identified the victims as Eric Legg, 48, of Twilight and Gary P. Hensley, 46, of Chapmanville. No other miners are believed to be trapped or injured, investigators said. Preliminary reports suggest the collapse may have been caused by a “coal outburst,” in which geological pressures cause a sudden explosion of coal and gas.
U.S. Representative Nick Rahall released a statement in the wake of the accident, saying, “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the miners who were taken too early from this life.”
The mine is owned by Patriot Coal and reportedly has a record of 250 safety violations for risks ranging from methane leaks to roofing hazards.