FLAT RUN —
In response to the disaster, Congress passed mine safety laws in 1969. Roberts said those laws required better communication, safety chambers with oxygen and tracking devices on every miner.
“We still don’t have any of that in most mines today,” Roberts said. “If I sound angry, I am. This is nearly 40 years after this tragedy. As long as we don’t have coal miners killed by the dozens, no one is going to worry about us.”
He said even today, people are beginning to forget about even the most recent mining disasters.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘Sago, I remember that. Wasn’t that in West Virginia?’” Roberts said. “It seems to me the only time people think about us is when a lot of us die at the same time.”
The memorial is held each year on the Sunday closest to the date of the disaster, Nov. 20. A memorial to those who died was erected at the unrecovered portion of the mine. The ground has been dedicated as a cemetery.
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