its a damn shame to i was hoping against hope they would find them alive but this does not look good.
Body discovered in West Virginia mine
Rescue effort continues despite high carbon monoxide levels, no sign of life
TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. - Rescue crews found one body late Tuesday in a West Virginia mine where 13 miners were trapped after an explosion, but they held out hope that the others were still alive.
The body was found about 700 feet from a mine car, and it appeared the employee was working on a beltline, which brings coal out of the mine, said Ben Hatfield, chief executive officer for the mine’s owner, International Coal Group Inc.
Red Cross volunteer Tamila Swiger, who was with miners’ families inside a church, said family members were “passing out and crying and just really in bad shape” after hearing about the body from Gov. Joe Manchin.
There was no immediate word about the fate of the other 12 miners, who had been trapped 260 feet below the surface of the Sago Mine, about 100 miles northeast of Charleston, after an explosion early Monday.
Rescuers located the body about 11,250 feet from the mine’s entrance. Officials had thought the miners were about 12,000 feet inside the mine.
Even as hope dwindled, Hatfield noted that the portal bus, the car the trapped miners used underground, was found by rescuers intact.
Hatfield said it appeared that the other miners were able to get out of the car “under their own power.”
“It is a good thing that the portal bus wasn’t devastated,” he said. “But we do not know from there, at this point, where they have gone,” he said. “We are still operating in rescue mode and are looking for survivors.”
‘It's a nightmare’
The discovery of the miner's body came after rescuers pushed deeper into the mine shaft in a desperate search for the trapped miners. The prospects of finding anyone alive appeared bleak after holes drilled into the ground yielded deadly levels of carbon monoxide and no signs of life.
“It’s a nightmare, the worst news that we can possibly deliver to families waiting for good news,” Hatfield said. “Our hearts and prayers at this point are with the families.”
Mine officials said the body discovered was unidentified, but the relative of one of the trapped men expressed doubt, and seemed to take exception to the mine's policy.
“The body they found, they do know who it is,” Jim Bennett told MSNBC's Rita Cosby. “They should take his family aside and let them know ... They're keeping us in suspense. ... They know more than what they’re telling us. It’s unreal the way they're doing this situation.” Bennett's father was one of the miners trapped below.
‘The odds are against us’
By early evening, Hatfield said, rescuers were three to five hours from reaching the spot where the miners were thought to be, and some relatives said they were beginning to give up hope.
John Groves, 43, of Cleveland, W.Va., said relatives were thinking the worst after Manchin spoke with families Tuesday evening.
“He said the odds are against us. It’s not hopeful,” Groves said as he fought back tears. “I think everybody knows, based on what they told us, what we are looking at.”
Hatfield also sounded less optimistic.
“We are clearly in the situation where we need a miracle,” he said. “But miracles happen.”
The men were believed to be about 12,000 feet past the opening of the shaft. By early evening, about 35 hours after the blast, rescue teams had penetrated 11,400 feet, working their way on foot for fear machinery might cause volatile gases to explode.
Families of the miners were told by the company that it appeared it was a powerful explosion, based on the amount of damage near where the miners may be trapped, said Rick McGee, who works at the mine with his brother-in-law, Randal McCloy, who is among those trapped.
Cinderblock walls meant to direct the flow of air inside the mine were knocked down in the vicinity, McGee said families were told.
'Still a chance'
Given the new information, McGee said, “There’s a chance, not a great chance, but there is still a chance” that the miners could still be alive if they were able to barricade themselves.
Earlier in the day, rescuers drilled narrow holes into the mine, inserted air monitors and found levels of carbon monoxide more than three times the maximum regarded as safe. Carbon monoxide, a byproduct of combustion, can be lethal.
Hatfield said it was possible the miners barricaded themselves somewhere and were still alive. But he said: “We are very discouraged by the results of this test.”
Also, a camera lowered down a 6-inch hole spotted no sign of the miners, and drilling crews pounded on a steel pipe and listened for a response but heard nothing, Hatfield said.
President Bush said the nation was praying for the men, and he offered federal help to bring them out alive. “May God bless those who are trapped below the earth,” he said.
Family members losing heart
Upon hearing the discouraging news, many family members retreated to the nearby Sago Baptist Church. Hundreds had spent the night huddled in tents or wrapped in blankets in the cool, damp air.
“Obviously, it was devastating,” said Nick Helms, whose 50-year-old father, Terry, was among the missing. “I just want to see him again.”
At first, rescue crews moved slowly through the shaft, because they had to stabilize it and repair the roof as they went along. But on Tuesday, officials said, the rescuers realized they had no time to waste and abandoned that approach.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration had rescue and safety specialists on the scene, set up a command center and brought in a robot capable of exploring areas too dangerous for humans. But the robot was abandoned after it became bogged down in the mud.
Manchin urged West Virginians to “believe in miracles.”
“It’s going to take a miracle, I think,” he said.
The cause of the explosion about 100 miles northeast of Charleston was under investigation. Coal mine explosions are typically caused by buildups of naturally occurring methane gas.
Manchin spokeswoman Lara Ramsburg said earlier that it may have been sparked by lightning.
God bless their families....
Fingers still crossed !!
stillpraying for them
The cable networks are already talking about safety violations, whos to blame, who we can hold accountable....
This incident isnt even over yet....Unbelieveable.....
God damn I love the people of WV... hardest working sons of bitches on the planet, I hope the others are OK.
I believe a poster on this board last night said his brother-in-law was one of the trapped guys.
Let's hope the rest of them get out alive.
ETA: COZ's Uncle Link to Team
Geraldo on FOX says the rest of the miners are alive.
ETA: He's being his usual pompous ass self, but he's putting people on his sat phone who are concurring - they are alive.