RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – It has been 13 years since 29 miners lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster.

The tragic coal dust explosion happened April 5, 2010, at the underground mine near Whitesville, West Virginia. After the blast, families and the community held vigils near the mine for days, hoping for any news of what happened to the missing, trapped miners.

In the days that followed, the communities worst fear came true. Out of the 31 miners who were in the mine, 29 lost their lives and the two survivors were injured. The disaster was the worst in U.S. mining history since the No. 15 and No. 16 mines at Finley Coal Company in Hyden, Kentucky, where 38 miners were killed in 1970.

A makeshift memorial was set up in a public park for family, friends and the community to mourn. In 2012, a permanent memorial to honor the fallen miners was constructed in its place.

In a semi-daily news briefing this morning, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice took a few moments to honor the fallen miners and their families.

“With my family being in the coal business, it’s an anniversary that is terribly sad. The UBB anniversary – 13 years since that terrible explosion at Upper Big Branch Mine that claimed 29 courageous lives,” Justice said. “It brought an earthquake of sadness to the coal fields.”

The governor spoke of the courage and bravery coal miners have to be able to do their jobs and how important those jobs have been throughout the country’s history – in times of both war and peace.

“Even today as we talk right now, there’s all kinds of brave men and women that are thousands of feet underground…It’s unbelievable what they go through. How courageous they are and how hard they work,” Justice said.

The miners killed in the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster include:

Carl Calvin “Pee Wee” Acord, 52
Jason Atkins, 25
Christopher Bell, 33
Gregory Steven Brock, 47
Kenneth A. Chapman, 53
Robert E. Clark, 41
Cory Thomas Davis, 20
Charles Timothy Davis, 51
Michael Lee “Cuz” Elswick, 56
William Ildon “Bob” Griffith, 54
Steven “Smiley” Harrah, 40
Edward Dean Jones, 50
Richard K. Lane, 55
William Roosevelt Lynch, 59
Joe Marcum, 57

Ronald Lee Maynor, 31
Nicolas Darrell McCroskey, 26
James E. “Eddie” Mooney, 51
Adam Keith Morgan, 21
Rex L. Mullins, 50
Joshua Scott Napper, 25
Howard D. “Boone” Payne, 53
Dillard Earl “Dewey” Persinger
Joel R. “Jody” Price
Gary Wayne Quarles, 33
Deward Allan Scott, 58
Grover Dale Skeens, 57
Benny Ray Willingham, 61
Ricky Workman, 50

More information on the miners who lost their lives is available on the Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial website.