26 May 2011

Company blamed in US mine disaster

2:02 pm on 26 May 2011

An investigation into an American coal mine disaster has found the company that owned it was responsible for fatal explosions.

The Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia exploded in April last year killing 29 men.

An independent report commissioned by the state's governor has found the disaster was man-made and could have been prevented had the operator, Massey Energy, followed basic safety procedures.

The investigators say the explosion was of coal dust that had built up in the air.

The report was written by mine safety expert Davitt McAteer, who has said in the past that the explosion has similarities to that at the Pike River coal mine on New Zealand's West Coast last year, where 29 men died.