CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sen. Earl Ray Tomblin, acting as governor, has proclaimed Tuesday a day of prayer and remembrance for the victims of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion.
One year ago Tuesday, 29 miners were killed in the explosion near Montcoal. It was the deadliest U.S. coal mining accident since 1970 and is the focus of civil and criminal investigations.
Tomblin's proclamation includes a request for statewide observances to start at 3:01 p.m. -- the estimated time of the explosion. He is asking that churches in the state ring their bells 29 times at that moment.
"At that moment, I ask all West Virginians to observe a moment of silence for all miners who have perished and for those who continue to work in harm's way,'' Tomblin said in a statement.
He also will lay a wreath at the Miner's Statue on the state Capitol grounds. Tuesday night, he will participate in a memorial service with the Upper Big Branch families.