Rescue teams in America are in a race against time to save several missing miners after an underground blast ripped through a coal pit in West Virginia.
At least twelve people are confirmed dead and a further 20 injured.
The accident occurred at Big Branch Mine in the town of Montcoal some 50 kilometres south of the state capital Charleston at about half past three in the afternoon local time.
The scale of the damage is still unclear but emergency crews are working frantically in an effort reach any survivors still trapped below the surface.
For families of the missing the wait is agonising.
‘‘They told me there was an explosion, And I said where? And they said Performance. And he just went to that mine, they just transferred him to that mine a while back,’‘ one woman said.
According to local media, the mine has had three fatalities in the last 16 years with Massey Energy, which owns the site, claiming its accident rate fell to an all-time low in 2009.