PIKEVILLE — On the day of Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine explosion that killed 29 miners, a top Mine Safety and Health Administration official was on his way to Pike County to meet with inspectors and Massey company officials regarding concerns at their operations.
Kevin Stricklin, MSHA's administrator for coal, landed about 4:30 p.m. April 5 in Charleston, W.Va., and planned to drive to Pikeville that evening, MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere said.
But Stricklin learned about the Upper Big Branch mine explosion about 30 miles south of Charleston, so his agenda in Kentucky, which included an MSHA district office staff meeting and a meeting with Massey company officials, was canceled, Louviere said.
Stricklin was concerned with ventilation issues, hazardous complaints and mine examinations at all Massey operations, Louviere said.
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