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Officials React To Deaths Of Two Men At Boone County Mine

Reported: May. 13, 2014 3:33 PM EDT
Updated: May. 13, 2014 6:06 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Heath Harrison) -- West Virginia's elected officials at the federal and state level reacted Tuesday to the deaths of two miners in and incident at Patriot Coal's Brody Mine No. 1 in Wharton on Monday night, reaching out to the families and calling for investigation and action into the matter.

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, whose district covers the area of the mine, offered his condolences to the miners’ families.

“I am saddened to learn of the loss of life overnight at the Brody Mine in Boone County, Rahall said in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the miners who were taken too early from this life. I know I am joined by families throughout our state in expressing heartfelt sympathy.”

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller also spoke to the families, and addressed the history of safety issues at the mine.

“Along with West Virginians everywhere, my prayers and deepest sympathies are with the families of the two coal miners we lost last night,” Rockefeller said. “We know that mining deaths and injuries are preventable, and last night’s tragedy is particularly troubling given the operator’s history of safety violations. Every step must be taken to make sure this operator – and all operators for that matter – are held accountable for the safety and health of their miners.”

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin also released a statement.

“My deepest thoughts and prayers are with the families and the loved ones of the tragedy that occurred last night in Boone County,” Manchin said. “Gayle and I join all West Virginians in sending our deepest condolences to the families of the courageous miners, Eric D. Legg of Twilight and Gary P. Hensley of Chapmanville, whose lives were taken far too soon. My staff and I will do everything we can to assist the families through this difficult time.”

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito called for prayers for the families.


“We grieve today over the tragic events at the Brody mine and the loss of Eric Legg and Gary Hensley. During this difficult time, let us join together in praying for Eric, Gary, their families and their fellow miners” Capito said in a statement.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin made a similar request.

"Joanne and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the two miners--Eric and Gary--who lost their lives in this tragic mining accident,” Tomblin said in a statement. “We ask all West Virginians to continue praying for them during this very difficult time for our mining community."

West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant called for a thorough investigation of the tragedy.

“I ask that all West Virginians remember the Boone County coal miners and their families in our prayers today, and also take time to appreciate the rescuers who responded so quickly to a dangerous situation,” Tennant said in a statement. “West Virginia was built on the foundation of coal miners and their families, and our future is bright because of their hard work and sacrifice that produces the energy for our state and nation. As we learn more details, our first priority is ensuring the safe rescue and recovery of everyone involved and comforting the families in Boone County. As we move forward, we must demand the thorough investigation these families deserve and take whatever action is necessary to protect our miners.”

Unions also responded to the tragedy.

“The hearts and prayers of the UMWA and our entire membership are with the families of Eric D. Legg and Gary P. Hensley, who were killed on the job last night at Patriot Coal’s Brody Mine No. 1 in Boone County, W.Va.," United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts said in a statement. "Central to our International Union’s mission is to advance and protect the interests of all coal miners, union and nonunion alike. We stand ready to assist the affected families in any way we can.”



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