Review finds more than 100 mining air packs defective

Review finds more than 100 mining air packs defective

State regulators conducting a review of mining equipment found more than 100 defective air packs of the same type used by victims of recent mine explosions in Kentucky and West Virginia, officials said.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher ordered the statewide review after the May 20 explosion at the Darby Mine No. 1 left five miners dead. Two miners were immediately killed by the blast, but three others died of carbon monoxide poisoning, despite using air packs.

The 119 defective air packs were found among “several thousand” inspected at 174 Kentucky mines, said Mark York, spokesman for the state’s Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet. The coal companies involved were not immediately identified.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration maintains that tests on the air packs recovered from both mines showed the devices worked properly. But a long-term study by the federal government suggested the air packs do not necessarily help miners breathe, especially after exposure to the dust, dirt and moisture of an underground coal mine.

Copyright 2006, Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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