President Barack Obama has demanded an investigation into the deaths of 29 miners after an explosion in a West Virginia coal mine brought new and widespread attention to hazards in the mining industry.

The explosion marks the worst U.S. mining accident in nearly 40 years.

The corporate operator of the mine, Massey, is the largest coal producer in the central Appalachia region and has witnessed a drop in its stock price of nearly 10 percent since the accident. It is defending its safety record in the face of intense criticism over the West Virginia deaths. –JCL


President Barack Obama demanded accountability on Saturday after four missing West Virginia coal miners were found dead, nearly five days after an explosion killed 25 others in the worst U.S. mining disaster in nearly four decades.

The four bodies were found in an area of the Massey Energy mine briefly searched after the blast on Monday but missed by rescuers because of heavy smoke, Kevin Stricklin of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration told reporters.

“We cannot bring back the men we lost. What we can do, in their memory, is thoroughly investigate this tragedy and demand accountability,” Obama said in a statement.

Rescue teams found the miners on their fourth attempt after earlier efforts were thwarted by thick smoke, fire and an explosive build-up of methane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

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