W.Va. marks 3rd anniversary of deadly mine blast

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia community is remembering the 29 coal miners who died in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

An explosion fueled by methane and coal dust tore through the former Massey Energy mine near Montcoal three years ago Friday. It was the worst U.S. coal mine disaster in four decades.

The Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce is unveiling a memorial marker on the courthouse lawn. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has asked West Virginians to observe a moment of silence at 3:01 p.m., the time of the blast.

The criminal probe of the blast is continuing. Two former mine officials are behind bars, while the ex-president of a different Massey mine awaits sentencing in a related conspiracy case.

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