West Virginia mine explosion kills 25

Four people are still missing in America's worst mining disaster for 25 years.

An underground explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine near Charleston, West Virginia, at 3pm yesterday (7pm GMT) has killed 25 people. Dangerous levels of methane gas meant that rescue efforts have been obstructed, with mine officials fearing the worst for the four missing.

The mine is owned by Massey Energy Company, whose website proclaims that 2009 was a record year for safety. The company claims to "lead the mining industry in productivity and safety".

President Obama offered his condolences and any help needed when he spoke to West Virginia governor Joe Manchin last night, according to the Associated Press. Massey CEO Don Blankenship said he wanted to reassure the miners' families that "we are taking every action possible to locate and rescue those still missing".