US rescuers race against time to find three people trapped in West Virginia mine
Three people missing in an inactive coal mine in West Virginia were found alive on Wednesday, 12 December 2018, after being reported missing four days earlier, authorities said. The three had been trapped in the Rock House Powellton mine in Clear Creek. Samantha Smith, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Commerce, said in a statement that the Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training confirmed they were found alive and would receive medical treatment.
The three missing people were identified as Kayla Williams, Erica Treadway and Cody Beverly. Video showed at least one person being loaded into an ambulance and being embraced by family and friends. “I'm just going to give her a hug and tell her how much I love her," said Randall Williams, occasionally wiping away tears after hearing his daughter, Kayla Williams, was found. "I'll tell you what's going to be on her mind, she wants to see her dog; that’s all she thinks about,” he said. "So I'm going to go get it and take it to her." Williams said he knew the searchers were not going to give up until they found the missing trio.
The discovery was made on the fourth day of the search. One of four people who initially went into the mine and managed to get out late Monday told authorities the rest were alive and provided information on their location, state officials said. All four were reported missing late on Saturday and a mine rescue team from the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training was activated early Sunday. The person who emerged from the mine on Monday was identified as Eddie Williams, officials said.
Beverly, 21, his face covered in dirt, told reporters after he emerged Wednesday, "I'm with my family now, I'm doing fine." After being asked by reporters what it was like in the mine, he said, "It was terrible," before becoming emotional.
Rescue teams pumped out water and used fans to pump air into the mine. Rescuers had explored over two miles of mine in their search for the three, said Eugene White, director of the miners' health and safety office. The mine has been inactive for about two years, according to a source familiar with the mine. A sheriff’s spokesman said it's illegal to enter an abandoned mine.
The mother of one of the three missing said she believes they were in the mine to steal copper. Treadway has three children, her family said. Treadway said as she was loaded in an ambulance that she had been barefoot for awhile, her shoes were soaked and she couldn’t get her feet warm. “I love you, I love you all,” she said as she was lifted into an ambulance. Her mother, Renee Williams, told her daughter, “They never lost faith, your babies.”
Family members and friends hugged one another after hearing their loved ones were found safe. "God is good, God is great. That’s how they came home," one man said between hugs. "We all had faith, we all came in as a community, and we trusted the faith in God. And he brought them home."
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice was there as Williams, Treadway and Beverly were put into ambulances. "It's just incredible," he said. "We didn't quit, and we found them," he said.
Source: NBC News