CHARLESTON, W.Va., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Federal inspectors found problems with ventilation in two visits last year to the West Virginia mine where 12 men died after a January explosion.
Reports by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration in August and September said that the airflow at the Sago Mine was not adequate to avoid methane buildup, the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette reported.
One miner died immediately in the explosion at the mine. Thirteen were trapped underground, with only one alive when rescuers reached the group two days after the blast.
The mine outside Tallmansville, W.Va., is owned by the International Coal Group.
More than 1,800 pages of inspection reports and other documents on the mine were released Thursday. They showed that federal regulators had rejected a plan to fix ventilation at the mine on the grounds that it would also not provide enough airflow.
The documents showed that inspectors were aware of problems.
"If this type of mining practice continues, miners will be exposed to harmful dust or methane ignitions," one inspector wrote after a Nov. 1 visit.