Obama offers prayers to families of deadly mine blast victims

The blast in a West Virginia mine on Monday killed 25 and left four people missing. It is considered the worst U.S. mining disaster in over 20 years.

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"I want to send my deepest condolences and my thoughts and prayers to the families of the workers who lost their lives in an explosion at a West Virginia mine yesterday," Obama said at the White House Easter prayer breakfast.

"I'd ask the faithful gathered here to pray for the souls who have been lost ... May they rest in peace and may their families find comfort in the days ahead."


Obama's remarks come after he called West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) Monday night to offer federal assistance for the rescue effort. The president repeated that pledge Tuesday morning, but did not offer specifics.

Rescue workers are continuing to search for the four missing miners, but have been unable to conduct a thorough search because of poisonous gases surrounding the site.

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) has dispatched two investigators from his panel to the scene. The committee has jurisdiction over the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

West Virginia's junior senator, Jay Rockefeller (D), also issued a statement Tuesday to mourn the victims of the blast. 

Rockefeller said that he is working "to get as much information as possible and I am doing all I can to help make sure all resources are made available for this rescue effort."

Manchin, who was returning to his state from Florida on Tuesday, said in a CNN interview Monday night that the rescue operation and ensuing investigation are still being pieced together.

"We take — we take the lead on this, basically, because working with the state, we're there continuously working with the feds," he said. "But we want to come into agreement on how this rescue operation — they work together and they also work with the mine, the mine owners and the mine operators, because they know that mine."

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room