Miner's Family: He Knew the Risks

Family honors Benny Willingham, one of the 25 killed in mine blast
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2010 4:27 PM CDT

The family of one of the 25 men killed in Monday's coal mine explosion in West Virginia says he went to work every day fully aware of the risks. "He thanked the Lord for watching over him in the mines for over 30 years," the sister of 62-year-old Benny Willingham tells CNN. "He said, 'If he takes me tomorrow, I've had a good life.'"

Four men remain unaccounted for, and rescue crews today were drilling holes at the Upper Big Branch Mine to release poisonous gases so they could enter. "It's scary. It's just really, really scary," said Willingham's granddaughter. "My stepdad also does this, and this is just a wake-up call to me. I've seen it happen before, but I never imagined I'd be here today, telling my story about it." (More coal stories.)

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