An explosion and fire Sunday night in a coal mine in Brookwood, Ala., has resulted in three confirmed fatalities, and another nine missing and presumed dead.
The accident at Mine No. 5, operated by Jim Walter Resources Inc., was apparently the result of a cave-in that occurred where miners were conducting maintenance activities.
According to Jim Walter Resources, mine rescue teams worked through the night on Sunday, seeking to evacuate miners who were underground at the time of the accident.
Four miners were evacuated and taken to area hospitals, one of who was in critical condition yesterday.
All other miners and rescue personnel have been evacuated from the mine.
Operations at the mine, which is 2,140 feet underground, were shut down Sunday night after the accident occurred.
Officials from Jim Walter Resources, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the United Mine Workers Association and the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations were all on hand to assist in the rescue effort and investigate the accident.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of loved ones of the miners affected by this tragedy,'' said George Richmond, president and COO of Jim Walter Resources. "Of the miners we have apparently lost, most were people who heroically volunteered to help their co-workers."
Jim Walters Resources, which employs approximately 1,370 in Brookwood, Ala., operates three underground coal mines and a natural gas operation.
by Virginia Foran