According to the Associated Press (04/10/10), the mine has a history of safety violations. Congress will reportedly hold hearings into the disaster.
Rescuers were prevented from getting to the miners by poisonous gases and thick smoke. Following the explosion, 25 men were known to have died and two men survived, with the four being unaccounted for. Although family members hoped the four had found safety in the refuge chambers, none of the refuge chambers were used.
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This results in few mines being cited for "a pattern of violations," which would allow for stricter oversight of the offending mines.
According to The New York Times an inspector was at the Upper Big Branch mine on Monday, April 12, 2010. He issued two citations. That afternoon, the mine exploded.
The cause of this most recent mine explosion is under investigation.