Mining Disaster in WV; Native Son, Former Miner and October Sky Author Homer Hickam Offers Perspective

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West Virginia Mining Disaster; several dead, injured and many more could be trapped underground. Speak with former miner, author and WV native Homer Hickam for perspective on coal industry, miners.

the next thing you know, you're in the middle of a tornado.

An underground mine explosion in Southern West Virginia has killed several miners and injured about two dozen. A large group of miners, perhaps as many as 20, are still believed to be underground and have not yet been accounted for. The blast happened Monday afternoon at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine, on the border of Raleigh and Boone County WV, in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields near the town of Whitesville. One miner who escaped the explosion said “the next thing you know, you're in the middle of a tornado."

Homer Hickam knows the area, and coal mining very well. The best-selling author of Rocket Boys about his boyhood in the Southern WV coalfields was made into the movie October Sky. Hickam is himself a former miner and has written several books set in and around WV coal mines including his most recent novel Red Helmet. Hickam grew up in the town of Coalwood WV (which is very close to Monday’s explosion) and follows the mining industry closely. He was asked to give the eulogy following the 2006 Sago mine disaster in his home state, and his Red Helmet foundation endows college scholarships for the children of coal miners.

Ask Homer for his perspective on:

  • The safety of the modern day coal mining industry
  • How heavily regulated the mining industry is today vs. in the past
  • The kinds of people West Virginia coal miners and their families are
  • Whether the mines apparent non-union status likely had any bearing on its safety, or rescue efforts
  • The safety equipment generally in place in mines like this one
  • What he’s hearing from those closest to the accident

Homer Hickam has appeared on all major TV, radio and print outlets for his expert commentary on both the mining and space industry. To request an interview, contact Allen Media Strategies Burke Allen 703-589-8960 or burke(at)allenmediastrategies(dot)com.

Burke Allen
Allen Media Strategies            


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