(01/03/2006)
12 MIDNIGHT - Rescue teams were developing strategy tonight to enter and drill in an Upshur County mine where 13 miners are trapped.

The cause of the explosion that has sealed the miners about two miles down the passage is unknown, but may have been sparked by lightning

The explosion occurred near Tallmansville about 6:30 Monday morning.

Federal inspectors just cited the mine for 46 alleged violations of federal mine health and safety rules during an 11-week review that ended December 22.

The more serious alleged violations against the company involved failure to take steps for safeguarding against roof falls, and the mine's plan to control methane and breathable dust.

The mine received 185 citations from MSHA during 2005, up from 68 citations in 2004.

Four co-workers tried to reach trapped miners but were unable to move ahead. The blast knocked out the mine's communication equipment, preventing authorities from contacting the miners.

It was not known how much air they had or how big a space they were in. The miners had air-purifying equipment, but no oxygen tanks.

The miners had three to 30 years of experience working in the mining industry.


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