Victims’ families react to mine explosion
April 6, 2010 ·
The survivors of victims in the Upper Big Branch mine tragedy are remembering their lost loved ones today.
Family members and friends of the 25 coal miners who died in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion are grieving today.
Mullens resident Michelle McKinney’s father Benny Willingham died in the mine.
"May 13 was his last day. He would have been 63 on May 14. And he and my mom and my aunt and uncle had a cruise already paid for; they were shipping out May 30 for a ten-day cruise," she said.
"That’s what he was going to do with his retirement, enjoy his grand babies. Play ball with them, watch them play ball, and travel. Cause he had worked very hard all his life."
McKinney says her father loved the coal mines and knows he is watching over them today.
Nick Prillaman is the nephew of Willingham.
"We just have to pray and be strong for one another. It’s very hard when you have to wait for answers; the waiting part was the hardest, because you want to hope for the best," he said.
"But again, every day that a man or a woman goes into the mines, they may not come out."
Prillaman says he will remember his uncle as a man of God who held the family together through good and bad times.