Two More: Already Worst _Full_ Year in Coal Since 2006

As everybody no doubt has heard by now, MSHA yesterday evening announced that the second miner entrapped at the Dotiki Mine the previous night was found dead and both miners were recovered from underground. I am more sorry than I can say.

The two fatalities raised the official death toll in the nation’s coal mines this year to 35. Unfortunately, that makes 2010 already the sector’s worst full year on record since 2006 — the year of Sago, Aracoma Alma and Kentucky Darby — and the third worst year in this decade.

Official fatality count (coal mines only)

1991–61…………………….2001–42
1992–55…………………….2002–28
1993–47…………………….2003–30
1994–45…………………….2004–28
1995–47…………………….2005–23
1996–39…………………….2006–47
1997–30…………………….2007–34
1998–29…………………….2008–30
1999–35…………………….2009–18
2000–38…………………….2010–35 (through April 28)

If my arithmetic is not in error, by the way, that is a total of 741 people who have died in coal mines since 1991.

The Upper Big Branch accident, of course, is the worst single coal mine accident since 1970. (The Sunshine silver mine fire in 1972, however, cost even more lives, a total of 91.)

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