By Samuel Davidson:
Five coal miners were killed in an explosion that ripped through an eastern Kentucky mine early Saturday morning.
The fatal blast took place at about 1:00 a.m. at the Darby Mine No. 1 in Harlan County, killing five of the six men on a maintenance crew at the mine, located near the Virginia border.
Killed in the disaster were: Amon Brock, 51, of Closplint; Jimmy D. Lee, 33, of Wallins Creek; Roy Middleton, 35, of Evarts; George William Petra, 49, of Kenvir; and Paris Thomas Jr., 53, of Evarts.
Only one man—Paul Ledford—survived. Initial reports indicate that the blast—which was so powerful that debris was blown hundreds of yards from the mine entrance—was caused by methane gas, which appears to have ignited in the production area after leaking from a sealed, unused section of the mine.
Coming just months after the explosion at the Sago Mine—which killed 12 West Virginia coal miners on January 2—the Harlan County disaster is an indictment of the entire political and corporate establishment in the United States.
Protest by dead miners’ families: here.
Song The Dying Miner by US singer Woodie Guthrie: here.
Update on Bush and mining safety: here.