25 dead in W.Va. mine blast, worst since 1984

(AP) - Safety officials say chances are slim of finding four workers alive in a West Virginia coal mine where a blast killed 25 in the worst U.S. mine disaster in more than twodecades.

Toxic gases chased rescue teams from the mine early Tuesday.

Safety officials say some miners were killed by the blast Mondayafternoon while others died from breathing toxic air.

Kevin Stricklin, an administrator for the federal Mine Safetyand Health Administration, says the situation for those missing wasdire but rescuers would try to go back after the mine wasventilated. Gov. Joe Manchin says families are still hoping for amiracle.

Massey Energy Co.'s sprawling Upper Big Branch mine about 30miles south of Charleston has a history of serious violationsinvolving its plan for ventilating combustible methane gas.

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