West Virginia senators remember those lost in Sago Mine explosion 18 years later –

SAGO, WV (WOAY) – Eighteen years ago today, an explosion at a coal mine claimed the lives of 12 coal miners and left one in critical condition. Today, West Virginia leaders are remembering those lives that were lost.

The explosion happened at Sago Mine in Upshur County near Buckhannon at around 6:30 a.m. on Jan. 2, 2006.

Thirteen people were left trapped below the surface. It took rescue crews 21 total hours to safely make their way two miles into the mine. When they got to the site of the trapped miners, nearly three hundred feet below the surface, twelve were dead and one was in critical condition. After a lengthy hospital stay, the one surviving miner recovered.

The incident launched multiple investigations and resulted in rule changes at the state and federal levels.

Both of West Virginia’s senators made statements in memory of the tragedy.

“Eighteen years ago, we lost twelve brave coal miners who went to work at the Sago Mine and never returned home to their beloved families. In their honor, West Virginians worked together to pass legislation that improved safety standards for our miners who sacrifice every day to power our great nation,” Senator Joe Manchin said. “The anniversary of this tragedy reminds us that our miners are willing to risk their lives for us, and we owe it to them to prioritize their health and safety. Gayle and I will keep the miners’ families and loved ones in our thoughts and prayers, and we encourage all West Virginians to take a moment to remember and honor the twelve courageous West Virginians who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our great state and nation.”

Manchin was governor at the time.

“Thinking of the families, loved ones, and all those who were affected by the Sago Mine disaster on January 2, 2006. Our hearts are with those mourning today,” Senator Shelley Moore Capito said. “This anniversary is a heartbreaking reminder of how West Virginia miners put themselves at risk every day to power this country. We should never forget all that our miners have sacrificed and done for our state.”

Capito was in the House of Representatives representing West Virginia’s second district at the time.



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