Two survivors of a West Virginia mine blast have since committed suicide, the Associated Press reported. The two miners, John Nelson Boni, a fireboss, and William Lee Chisolm, a dispatcher, were questioned by investigators in the aftermath of the Jan. 2 explosion at Sago Mine, which led to the deaths of 12 of their coworkers.
Neither was blamed in the tragedy, and police said itâ€™s not clear why they committed suicide. But J. Davitt McAteer, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchinâ€™s adviser on the accident, said such incidents weigh heavily on those involved.
â€œTraumatic events have a long-lasting effect on people,â€ said McAteer. â€œWe have to be careful and conscious of this fact and provide as much counseling and support as we can.â€
State police were called to John Boniâ€™s home in Volga early Saturday. They found him dead of a gunshot to the head, said Sgt. James Merrill. Heâ€™d been talking to his father-in-law on the phone when the father-in-law heard a shot. His ex-wife, Vickie Boni, said she doesnâ€™t know why he killed himself but the tragedy continued to bother him. â€œIâ€™m not sure anybody ever gets over it,â€ said Boni. â€œYou live with it every day.â€
On Aug. 29, Randolph County sheriffâ€™s officers found Chisolm, who had been monitoring carbon monoxide levels the day of the blast, dead from a gunshot wound in his Harding-area home. Chisolm had told investigators that a carbon monoxide alarm sounded about 20 minutes before the explosion, but he thought it was malfunctioning. Investigators were satisfied that the alarm probably wasnâ€™t related to the cause of the explosion.