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Four missing West Virginia miners are found dead

Miners talk near site of explosion
The explosion was the US coal mining industry's worst for 40 years

The bodies of four missing miners have been found in West Virginia, taking the death toll to 29 and making it US coal mining's worst accident in 40 years.

Difficult conditions had hampered rescuers in their search for survivors after Monday's underground explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine.

Relatives had hoped the four miners had sought refuge in one of the mine's airtight chambers after the blast.

A rescue crew earlier reached one of the chambers, but found no-one there.

Speaking shortly after the discovery, West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin said: "The journey has ended."

US MINE DISASTERS
Jan 2006 - 12 killed in methane explosion at Sago mine, Tallmansville, West Virginia
2001 - 13 dead in explosions in mine at Brookwood, Alabama
1989 - 10 killed in explosion at Wheatcroft, Kentucky
1984 - 27 killed in fire at Orangeville, Utah
1970 - 38 killed in explosion at Hyden, Kentucky
1968 - 78 killed in explosion at Farmington, West Virginia
1907 - 362 killed in explosion at Monongah, West Virginia

The bodies of 18 other dead workers remain inside the damaged mine, 50km (30 miles) south of Charleston.

President Barack Obama earlier offered his condolences to the families of the victims, and said he wanted federal mine safety investigators to report next week on the cause of the explosion.

As details emerged of prior safety violations at the Upper Big Branch mine, owned by Massey Energy Company, Mr Obama said steps needed to be taken to prevent similar accidents.

The latest death-toll makes it the worst coal mine disaster in the US since 38 people were killed in a Kentucky mine in 1970.

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SEE ALSO
Gas forces rescuers from US mine
08 Apr 10 |  Americas
Fears grow for missing US miners
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Toll rises in US mining disaster
06 Apr 10 |  Americas

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Scotland on Sunday Online Mine search ends as missing four found dead - 16 hrs ago
Reuters via Yahoo! Missing West Virginia miners found dead, blast toll at 29 (Reuters) - 18 hrs ago
FOXNews.com W.Va. Miners Found Dead, Search Ends - 24 hrs ago
Times Online Four missing miners found dead at Upper Big Branch mine - 28 hrs ago
CTV.ca Bodies of 4 missing West Virginia miners found - 29 hrs ago


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