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MSHA News Release: [01/23/2006]
Contact: Dirk Fillpot
Phone Number: (202) 693-9406
Release Number: 06-125-NAT

MSHA Acting Administrator Pledges Comprehensive Investigation into Sago Disaster

WASHINGTON — David G. Dye, the acting administrator of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), testified before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education today on MSHA's role and response in connection with the Sago Mine disaster in West Virginia in which 12 miners died. He also briefed the committee on the federal agency's activities in the fatal mine accident in Logan County, West Virginia.

During the hearing, Dye announced that: Dye also commended the "courageous' mine rescue teams who "put their own lives on the line to save their colleagues," and pledged to the lost miners' families that MSHA was conducting a comprehensive investigation to determine the cause of the tragedy and ensure better protection of miners in the future.

"All of us at MSHA deeply grieve the loss of these miners' lives, and I want to assure their families and friends that we are conducting an uncompromising investigation into this accident," Dye said. "We will uncover the truth of why this tragedy happened, and how we can best protect miners in the future."

Dye spoke about MSHA's aggressive enforcement record, both generally and at the Sago Mine prior to the accident. Dye noted that: On Jan. 2, an explosion occurred in the Sago Mine in West Virginia, killing 12 miners. One miner was rescued due to the courageous efforts of 13 mine rescue teams that responded to the accident. MSHA is investigating the cause of this accident.

Robert Friend, acting deputy assistant secretary of MSHA; Ray McKinney, MSHA's administrator for coal mine safety and health, and Ed Clair, associate solicitor for mine safety and health, also testified today.

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