Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sago Mine Disaster Hearings

Sago Blast Probe Focuses on Lightning

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. (AP) -- A mining professor suggested that an electrical pulse from a lightning strike snaked into the mouth of Sago Mine and traveled down a conveyor belt, where it caused the explosion that led to the deaths of 12 miners.

Once inside, the charge stopped just feet from the sealed-off section where the blast occurred, Thomas Novak, a professor at Virginia Tech, told a panel Wednesday on the second day of hearings into what caused the blast.

"Lightning doesn't have to strike something directly" to cause an explosion, Novak said, then agreed under questioning that his preliminary findings could be characterized as a "hypothesis."

The Jan. 2 blast killed one miner immediately, while 12 other miners slowly succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning in the gas-filled mine. One miner, Randal McCloy Jr., survived. [...]


Randal McCloy Jr.’s Letter

April 26, 2006

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