Reported by: Kennie Bass
Videographer: Anthony Lewis
Web Producer: Kennie Bass
Reported: Apr. 5, 2012 5:30 PM EDT
EYEWITNESS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO C L I C K T O P L A Y
, Kanawha County
, West Virginia
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin places a wreath at the miner's memorial on the state capitol grounds...honoring the 29 men killed in the Upper Big Branch Explosion.
Three separate investigations determined that an inundation of methane gas sparked an explosion which was fueled by floating coal dust.
Mine owner Massey Energy was blamed for operating UBB in an unsafe manner, putting production ahead of safety.
A federal criminal probe has led to a pair of convictions. Former Massey Security Chief Hughie Elbert Stover was sentenced to three years in prison for lying and obstructing investigators.
Former UBB Mine Superintendent Gary May pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge. He faces up to five years in prison.
The US Attorney is still digging into the case.
In the disaster's aftermath, West Virginia lawmakers passed a bill which includes drug testing, forbidding advance notice inspectors are on property and tougher penalties for violating safety standards that result in death.
Tomblin says mines are safer today than they were two years ago.