Story highlights

NEW: The root cause of the accident is not clear

NEW: Miners are identified as Eric D. Legg, 48, and Gary P. Hensley, 46

The Brody No. 1 mine was cited for safety violations in the past

CNN  — 

Two coal miners lost their lives inside a mine in Boone County, West Virginia, a U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman told CNN on Tuesday.

A coal or rock outburst occurred Monday night at the Brody Mine No. 1, owned by Brody Mining LLC, MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere said.

The two miners – a continuous mining machine operator and a roof bolting machine operator – were fatally injured, she said.

The West Virginia Department of Commerce identified the victims as Eric D. Legg, 48, and Gary P. Hensley, 46.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin expressed his condolences and asked for “all West Virginians to continue praying for them during this very difficult time for our mining community.”

The root cause of the accident was not immediately known and is under investigation.

Brody Mine No. 1 has been cited in the past for safety violations.

Last year, MSHA issued 514 citations, orders and safeguards to Brody Mine, Louviere said.

There was a “pattern of violations” and repeated failure to meet mandatory safety standards at the mine, according to an October 2013 letter from the MSHA to the mining company.

“These groups of violations, taken alone or together, constitute a pattern of violations of mandatory health and safety standards in the coal or other mine which are of such nature as could have significantly and substantially contributed to the cause and effect of coal or other mine health or safety hazards,” the MSHA report stated.

Brody Mine was placed on what’s known as POV, or pattern of violations, status. Under that program, each time the mine received a significant and substantial violation of MSHA’s mandatory standards, MSHA issued a withdrawal order and evacuated the part of the mine affected by the violation, according to Louviere.

The spokeswoman said that Brody Mine received 69 withdrawal orders under the POV provision, among other closure orders.

West Virginia was the site of one of the worst mining disasters in recent memory. In 2010, 29 miners were killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Naoma.

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