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The Sago Mine Disaster: Can Lightning Strike Twice?


At 6:30am on Jan 2, 2006, an explosion occurred inside the Sago Coal Mine in Upshur County, WV, and trapped thirteen miners over 250 feet below ground. By 9pm that evening it was announced by International Coal Group (ICG) CEO Ben Hatfield that the twelve trapped miners were located and a rescue mission was underway. Just prior to midnight on Tuesday January 3 commotion quickly spread across the mine base, echoing that all twelve miners trapped had been found alive. Where the news came from is uncertain since there was no official statement issued from the ICG of Sago Mine officials. In a press conference at 3am Wednesday morning, January 4, Ben Hatfield confirmed that the twelve trapped miners originally reported to be alive, were in fact no longer living. The impact of the "miscommunication" to the families and public magnified a temperament that ultimately influenced the general image of the ICG as an organization.

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