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EASTERN ASSOCIATED COAL CORP.: CONVOY ATTACKED, TRUCKS SAVAGED BY MOB OF AX-WIELDING UMWA PICKETS

 CHARLESTON, W.Va., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was issued today by Eastern Associated Coal Corp.:
 Several hundred UMW members and their families brandishing axes and rocks today ambushed a 12-vehicle convoy at Eastern Associated Coal Corp.'s Big Mountain Mine, near Prenter.
 The ambushers terrorized the truckers for nearly two hours by puncturing diesel fuel tanks with axes, smashing windows and headlights with rocks and clubs and disabling one vehicle by pushing it off the road and setting it on fire. One of the security vehicle drivers was hospitalized for a head injury suffered in the attack.
 All trucks in the convoy were damaged. One driver said he had never seen such wanton disregard for personal safety.
 Today's attacks by striking UMWA members defied a court order signed last week by Federal District Court Judge Dennis R. Knapp that banned strike-related violence in the southern district of West Virginia. The attackers were unopposed for most of the two-hour melee by either West Virginia State Police or U.S. Marshals, who were asked to protect the convoy.
 The sequence of events (all times eastern daylight):
 8:45 a.m. -- Convoy of 10 tractor trailer trucks, with 2 escort vehicles, arrive at Big Mountain accompanied by several West Virginia State Police cruisers. About 30 UMWA pickets are at the mine gate. No incidents arise, and state troopers depart.
 11:40 a.m. -- State Police notify company officials that the number of strikers has risen to approximately 100 at the gate and an estimated 200 more have hidden in the woods along the road leading from the mine. At the recommendation of state police, trucks remain inside. Company officials then request protection for safe passage out of the mine from the State Police and U.S. Marshal.
 4:00 p.m. -- Six U.S. Marshals arrive at Big Mountain Mine.
 4:38 p.m. -- U.S. Marshals notify company that the way is clear for the convoy to leave the Big Mountain complex via Prenter Road (County Route 5). The tanker truck in the convoy rammed and attached with axes. Other trucks are attacked with axes and rocks. Fuel tanks are punctured and attackers attempt to ignite the leaking diesel fuel. Security vehicle at rear of convoy is totally disabled, and driver must evacuate to one of the trucks, fearing for his safety.
 6:16 p.m. -- After repeated calls for help to the U.S. Marshals and the West Virginia state police, two state police cars finally arrive on the scene.
 Approximately 7:05 p.m. -- The abandoned security vehicle, having been pushed off the highway, is set ablaze.
 -0- 9/15/93
 /CONTACT: Terry Whitt or Mike Herron, 304-340-1710, for Eastern Associated Coal Corp./


CO: Eastern Associated Coal Corp. ST: West Virginia IN: OIL SU:

LD -- NY102 -- 2506 09/15/93 23:01 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 15, 1993
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