West Virginia Approves First Underground Wireless Communications Device

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training has approved the first new wireless systems for helping rescuers track and communicate with trapped coal miners.

State officials say Ontario, Canada-based Varis Mine Technology
received full approval, while five other manufacturers got
conditional O-Ks. Lexington, Kentucky-based Matrix Design Group,
Ona-based Marco North America, Washington-based Venture Design
Group, Beckley-based Hughes Supply and Elkins-based Hannah
Engineering all need federal certification that components are safe
to bring into mines.

The approvals are a milestone of sorts. Coal mining has raced to
develop communications and tracking gear capable of surviving
explosions and fires since the Sago Mine disaster last year.

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