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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

MSHA News Release: [04/05/2010]
Contact Name: Jesse Lawder or Carl Fillichio
Phone Number: (202) 693-5060 or x (202) 309-9184
Release Number: 10-0450-NAT

Statement of US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on the situation at Upper Big Branch South Mine

WASHINGTONU.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement on the situation at the Upper Big Branch South Mine in Whitesville, W.Va.:

"My heartfelt condolences go out to the families, co-workers and communities that are mourning the loss of lives at the Upper Big Branch South Mine in Whitesville, W.Va.  My thoughts and prayers are with them.

"Information coming from the site continues to shift, and we want to make sure that family members get the most complete and accurate reports first.  As of 11:30 p.m. (EDT) the best available information is that 12 miners have died in the accident, two have been hospitalized, and 17 are still unaccounted for.

"There are nine rescue teams on-site, including teams from the company and the state of West Virginia.  Mine Emergency Operations personnel from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration are accompanying the rescue teams underground.  Additional MSHA personnel are en route. 

"At least three family liaisons, also from MSHA, will be providing round-the-clock counseling to family members and co-workers.  They have already met with several family members, co-workers and loved ones.

"MSHA District Manager Robert Hardman is leading rescue efforts at the mine site.  MSHA Coal Mine Safety and Health Administrator Kevin Stricklin is also at the site and in constant contact with Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joe Main.  I am getting updated reports on a regular basis.

"Our number one priority is to locate the missing miners and bring them to safety."