April 5th, 2010
08:35 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Deadly W.V. mine explosion; 21 missing

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

We’re following breaking news out of West Virginia, where an underground mine explosion has killed at least six miners and injured 21. Another 21 are missing. The blast happened around 4:30 p.m. EST at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County. At least 20 ambulances and three helicopters have been dispatched to the scene.

After the Sago mine disaster in West Virginia four years ago, Congress mandated new safety equipment–including high-tech communications and tracking gear–for underground mines nationwide. But according to the Charleston Gazette, just 34 of the 415 mines required to meet the new requirements have installed the equipment. That’s just over 8 percent.

It’s not clear yet if the Upper Big Branch mine had installed the new equipment – or even if such equipment will be a factor in this story. As we prepare for air, our reporters and producers are scrambling to nail down the facts of today’s accident. We’ll have the latest on the rescue efforts underway.

There’s also important news out of Haiti, where aid workers are racing to prevent another potential disaster. The rainy season is a grave threat to camps for homeless Haitians. A U.N. worker in Port-au Prince told the Washington Post, "The rainy season is a freight train headed right at us." Actor Sean Penn joins us tonight from Haiti, where his aid group is scrambling to help relocate homeless quake survivors ahead of the worst of the rains.

Tiger Woods today held his first news conference since reports of his infidelity surfaced. He talked to reporters for 35 minutes at the Augusta National Golf Club where he’s preparing for the Masters Tournament. But he didn’t answer all their questions. Woods told reporters that he’s emerged from rehab a better man. "I'm trying as hard as I possibly can each and every day to get my life better and better and stronger, and if I win championships along the way, so be it," Woods said. Asked what the rehab was for, he replied, "That's personal, thank you." He did say he’s continuing treatment, which is widely thought to be for sex addiction. Tonight you’ll hear from Tiger in his own words.

In raw politics, the Republican National Committee’s top aide is resigning. This as Michael Steele, the group’s chairman, is under increasing pressure to step down. Steele is accused of allowing excessive spending, including $2,000 in party funds to entertain young donors at a Hollywood bondage club. Now, he’s given his critics new ammunition by bringing race into the political equation. Tonight, what he said, how the White House responded and more.

See you at 10 p.m. eastern.

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. travis thompson

    As a coal miner from indiana and a mine rescue member my prayers go out to familys in w.va be strong

    April 5, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    It's terrible that there has been another mine explosion trapping men underground and killing six of them and perhaps more – its not a surprise though that the coal company is Massey. Massey goes into an area and mines it clean and pulls out – spending as little money as possible while they are there. I hope the rest of the miners are found and that none of the rescue workers are hurt or killed in the process.

    April 5, 2010 at 9:01 pm |