A deadly year in coal mining
Performance Coal Company at Upper Big Branch
December 30, 2010 ·
For the U.S. coal industry, 2010 is going into the record books as the deadliest year in nearly two decades.
According to federal Mine Safety and Health Administration records, 48 miners were killed while working in the nation's 1,500 mines this past year.
That's the highest since 55 miners died in 1992.
Most of those deaths occurred in West Virginia, where 29 perished in an April 5 explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine.
West Virginia's total death toll for the year is 35. Kentucky recorded six deaths this year. Other mining deaths occurred in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana and Montana.
National Mining Association spokeswoman Carol Raulston says the death toll has prompted the entire industry to reconsider all aspects of safety.