By Mike Lillis - 08/11/10 06:41 PM EDT
Massey Energy on Wednesday released pictures of a crack in the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine, which exploded with tragic results in April.
The Virginia-based coal giant has suggested a huge crack near a mine-harvesting machine could be the source of the methane gas that fueled the blast.
“The crack, along with other potential sources in the mine, need to be fully examined by company, federal and state investigators as they continue the ongoing probe into the UBB mine accident,” Shane Harvey, Massey's vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.
Release of the pictures came just a few hours after federal mine-safety officials told reporters they've seen no evidence of a massive crack in the UBB to back Massey's claims.
Massey is under federal investigation following April's UBB disaster.