A second major explosion five days later dashed hopes that any workers had survived. The department announced charges in the disaster but declined to immediately detail them or name the defendants because of strict court rules on name-suppression in pending cases. It said those rules were lifted in this case. Whittall’s charges include four counts of failing to ensure that “no action or inaction” in his role at the company “harmed another person.”

According to The Telegraph, other charges were also filed against the now-bankrupt Pike River Coal Co.and against the VLI Drilling Co. Whittall’s lawyers said Whittall denied all the charges and would fight them. “Whittall is a coal miner,” his lawyers wrote in a release. “He comes from a coal mining town and has worked in underground mines all his life. He maintains that he would never do anything to put men who worked with him at risk. And, Whittall will fight being scapegoated now.”