Families of W.Va. mine blast victims face big day

By VICKI SMITH | December 6, 2011 | 3:20 AM EST

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — The families of 29 men killed in an explosion at a Massey Energy coal mine in West Virginia face what could be a pivotal day.

Federal prosecutors are holding a teleconference Tuesday morning to discuss what they call "significant developments" in the criminal investigation.

At noon in Beaver, the Mine Safety and Health Administration will give them the agency's final report on the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in decades.

Gary Quarles says he's hoping for criminal prosecutions because someone should pay for what happened last year.

Quarles knew the mine where his son Gary Wayne worked was dangerous. But previous reports from MSHA, independent investigators and the United Mine Workers show conditions were worse than he'd thought.

Investigators have long blamed methane, coal dust and broken or malfunctioning equipment for the blast.