Mine Owners - "We're Sorry for Confusion"

TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - Ben Hatfield says his company let
"the jubilation go on longer than it should have." The head of the company that owns the West Virginia mine where a dozen miners died says his group regrets letting the miners' families wrongly believe for three hours that their relatives were alive.

Hatfield's voice occasionally broke as he laid out the timeline, saying the first report from rescue crews was that a dozen were alive. That eventually leaked to the families -- setting off mass celebrations.

Hatfield says company officials were suspicious of that report, as well as another saying only one miner was alive. He says officials decided not to issue any statements, while trying to see which information was right.

In hindsight, Hatfield says he should have gone to the relatives to tell them of the conflicting information.


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