Final Sago settlements approved

by Kyla Asbury |
Nov. 17, 2011, 4:34am

CHARLESTON -- Kanawha Circuit Judge Charles E. King approved the last of the wrongful death lawsuit settlements between mine owners and family members of six of the Sago Mine coal miners that died in the 2006 disaster.

Terms of the settlements were sealed.

The Sago Mine disaster took place Jan. 2, 2006, when a methane gas explosion occurred in the mine. One miner died soon after the explosion of carbon monoxide poisoning. Twelve other miners were able to take shelter behind a makeshift barricade. By the time rescuers reached them nearly two days later, only one of the 12 miners had survived.

Federal investigators pointed to a lightning strike being the most likely cause for the explosion.

At the time of the disaster, the mine was owned by International Coal Group, which was purchased by Arch Coal, a St. Louis-based company, earlier in 2011. The mine was operated by Wolf Run Mining Co.

Lawsuits filed by families had cited a string of safety violations prior to the 2006 disaster.

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