Roy Conley in his home in Mousie, Ky., Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Conley was the only survivor of a mine blast that killed 8 miners on Dec. 7, 1981 in the Adkins Coal Co. No. 18 mine in Topmost,Ky.  Roy Conley, the operator of a scooping vehicle, had left the mine to charge a battery just before the explosion. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff
Roy Conley in his home in Mousie, Ky., Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Conley was the only survivor of a mine blast that killed 8 miners on Dec. 7, 1981 in the Adkins Coal Co. No. 18 mine in Topmost,Ky. Roy Conley, the operator of a scooping vehicle, had left the mine to charge a battery just before the explosion. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff Herald-Leader
Roy Conley in his home in Mousie, Ky., Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Conley was the only survivor of a mine blast that killed 8 miners on Dec. 7, 1981 in the Adkins Coal Co. No. 18 mine in Topmost,Ky. Roy Conley, the operator of a scooping vehicle, had left the mine to charge a battery just before the explosion. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff Herald-Leader

Chapter 9: Pain remains more than 30 years after mine blast killed 8 on Potato Branch

More from the series

50 Years of Night

In 1963, Harry Caudill of Whitesburg published “Night Comes to the Cumberlands: A Biography of a Depressed Area,” which shone a spotlight on the plundering of the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. The book forever changed Appalachia. On the eve of the book’s 50th anniversary, the Lexington Herald-Leader launched a yearlong look at the region’s struggles since Night was published.

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July 06, 2013 11:00 PM