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No Sign of Life in West Virginia Mine Chamber

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There's word from The Associated Press this morning that rescuers went underground far enough in West Virginia's Upper Big Branch Mine to determine that no one had used a chamber where four missing miners could have sought refuge after Monday's blast. Rescue workers had to halt their search in the mine today after encountering smoke underground. They turned around, fearing fire and another explosion.

Today's stalled expedition marks the third time since Monday that a rescue mission has been halted. Rescuers were called off of a search mission yesterday after they met with toxic gases in the mine. The AP reports that today, workers above ground are pumping nitrogen into the mine to neutralize explosive methane gas.

Twenty five people died in Monday's explosion. The town is losing hope that anyone survived after the discovery of the unused mine chamber. For more WQXR coverage on this story, click here and here.

UPDATE TO THIS STORY SINCE IT WAS FIRST POSTED: This story was updated to reflect this morning's stalled mission.