UBB mine disaster report will be released this week
Davitt McAteer hopes his report will make a difference in mine safety.
May 16, 2011 ·
The results of an independent investigation into the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 miners last April will be released Thursday. Family members of the victims will hear the report first.
Former Mine Safety and Health Administration chief and CEO of Sponsored programs at Wheeling Jesuit University, Davitt McAteer was appointed by former Gov. Joe Manchin to conduct an independent investigation on what caused the Upper Big Branch mine explosion.
McAteer was also tapped by Manchin to investigate the Sago Mine explosion.
The report will be released in Beckley so victim's family members can attend.
“As we have done in the past we are going to meet with family members and discuss the report and our findings before we do anything. Following that we will meet with the media,” said McAteer.
McAteer’s team conducted more than 300 interviews with Massey, state and federal mine officials.
Just last week, MSHA released transcripts of more than two dozen interviews from its investigation of the explosion.
In January, MSHA released its preliminary findings on the mine explosion. The agency says a faulty piece of equipment may have contributed to the blast. Investigators suspect a build up of explosive coal dust contributed as well.
McAteer said a crack in the mine floor, and the amount of coal dust in the mine at the time of the explosion are some factors his team examined closely.
“We also address the findings and suggestions by both MSHA and the company as to what their conclusions are and we either endorse those suggestions or have a difference of opinion about those suggestions,” said McAteer.
McAteer will share his investigation's findings with the public at Tamarack in Beckley at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.