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WV miners found dead

Rescuers found the bodies of the two missing miners Saturday.

BY HEATHER MOYER | MELVILLE, W. Va. | January 21, 2006

Rescuers found the bodies of the two missing miners Saturday. The two had succumbed to the large fire that broke out in the mine late Thursday.

The two are Don Israel Bragg, 33, and Ellery "Elvis" Hatfield, 47.

According to mine officials, a fire broke out Thursday evening in the Aracoma Mine in the Logan County town of Melville. Ten miners were able to escape from the mine, but they soon discovered that the other two men with them were missing.

Rescue teams spent two days searching the mine for the two miners. The fire started more than 10,000 feet in the mine.

"We did not have the outcome we had hoped for," said Gov. Joe Manchin, who had spent time waiting with the families awaiting word on the missing miners.

The Bragg and Hatfield families are staying in a nearby church receiving support. Bragg had two children and Hatfield was the father of four.

This mining accident comes less than a month after 12 miners died in the Sago mine near Tallmansville, W. Va. One miner who lived through that tragedy is still in a hospital recovering.

Manchin vowed Saturday to work for change in the mining business after the two accidents. He said he will help introduce three pieces of legislation Monday that will help improve safety and rescue operations.

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