MSHA Says Lightning Most Likely Cause Of Deadly Sago Blast

Buckhannon, WV (AP) -- Federal officials say a lightning bolt likely traveled down a pump cable inside a sealed section of the Sago Mine to touch off the methane blast that led to the deaths of 12 miners last year.

A report by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says lightning is one of three "root causes" of the deadly blast.

Previous reports by the company and the state have pinpointed lighting as the cause, but those did not mention the route the charge took into the mine.

The report also says methane levels inside the sealed section of the mine were not monitored, and that seals used to close off that inactive section from the mine's working area were not strong enough to withstand the blast.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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