State inspectors briefed mine safety board members on the two death investigations Thursday morning during a meeting in Charleston.
Board member Ted Hapney, a United Mine Workers union representative, noted that state mine safety officials weren't notified of the Mingo Logan accident for more than 40 minutes.
John Kinder, the state's supervising inspector in the region, said the company called Logan County's emergency services office within the 15-minute time limit required by a state law passed to speed up mine rescue efforts following the 2006 Sago Mine Disaster.
Kinder said it often takes local emergency officials a while to alert the state Homeland Security Office, which in turn calls the mine safety agency. Kinder said coal operators are considered in compliance with the 15-minute reporting requirement as long as they call local 911 offices.
"They're doing what they're supposed to do, but it's not working," Kinder said. "That happens, and it's going to continue to happen until something changes."
He said some coal operators call him directly to report accidents, but that others call 911 and often provide little information to help emergency responders know what has occurred.
"There are times that we don't get all of the information that we need," Kinder said. "There are some flaws."
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.