UPSHUR COUNTY, WV (LOOTPRESS) – On this day 17 years ago, an explosion occurred at the Sago Mine in Upshur County resulting in the deaths of 12 miners.
At 6:26 AM that morning methane gas ignited in an area of the mine that was recently sealed and blew out the seals and sent smoke, dust, debris, and lethal carbon monoxide into the active areas of the mine.
One miner was killed by the initial blast and 16 escaped. Twelve miners were unable to escape and rescuers found them around 41 hours later. All but one had died from carbon monoxide asphyxiation.
News outlets had reported the opposite after incorrect information was relayed from mining officials stating that 12 miners have been rescued and were still alive.
The explosion received major worldwide coverage and was one of the worst mining disasters to occur at the time since the Jim Walter Resources Mine disaster that occurred in Alabama in September of 2001.
A memorial to those who lost their lives sits south of Buckhannon at the intersection of Sago Road/Co Rt 30/7 and Gould Sago Rd. – Tallmansville Road at the end of the Baptist Church parking lot.