12 Dead, more missing in coal mine explosion in southern W. Va.

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

MONTCOAL, W.Va. (AP) - A mine safety administrator says 12 workers are dead and 10 trapped deep underground after an explosion rocked a remote West Virginia coal mine.

The explosion happened Monday at Massey Energy Co.'s sprawling Upper Big Branch mine about 30 miles south of Charleston.

Rescuers are looking for 10 more trapped miners.

The cause of the blast was not known, however, the operation has a history of violations for not properly ventilating highly combustible methane gas, safety officials said.

Kevin Stricklin from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says miners were leaving on a vehicle that takes them in and out of the long shaft when the blast happened.

Stricklin says rescuers are getting closer to airtight chambers set up for miners to go if they become trapped.

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