Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sago Death Toll Rises to 14

This headline is not an attempt to be clever. The story is heartbreaking.

Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette reports:

Two key figures in January’s disaster at the Sago Mine in Upshur County have taken their own lives in the last three weeks, police and other officials have confirmed.

Their deaths have family and friends of surviving Sago miners and mine rescuers — along with mine safety advocates — concerned about the emotional toll of the Jan. 2 mine tragedy....


Mine dispatcher William Chisolm and John Nelson Boni, a fireboss, shot themselves in separate incidents, authorities said.

Chisolm, 47, of Belington, died on Aug. 29, and Boni, 63, of Volga, died Saturday evening.

Chisolm was the dispatcher on duty the morning of the explosion and Boni had discovered a buildup of methane five days earlier in the sealed part of the mine where the blast occurred.


Assuming these miners suffered from depression in the wake of the accident, and depression led to their deaths, then they also were casualties of the explosion.

It is not the first time something like this has happened in a protracted mine accident investigation. Efforts to catch warning signs and prevent future tragedies of the same kind deserve serious attention.

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