TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. — An eight-member rescue crew descended into the Sago coal mine shortly before 6 p.m. in search of 13 miners trapped by an explosion early this morning.
There was no immediate word on the miners’ condition, and rescuers had not been able to contact them.
Rescue crews were kept out of the mine for most of the day while dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide — a byproduct of combustion — were vented through holes drilled into the ground, authorities said.
CNN: 13 miners trapped in West Virginia mine, officials say
The explosion happened about 8 a.m. at the Sago Mine in Upshur County, said Steve Milligan, deputy director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management. Six miners made it out of the mine and refused treatment.
The trapped miners’ condition was not immediately known as an attempt by coworkers to reach them was unsuccessful, Milligan said.
“They essentially came to a wall,” Milligan said. “So they can’t get to them at this time.” The miners were one to two miles underground, he said.
Fox News: Rescuers Attempt to Save 13 W. Va. Miners Trapped After Explosion
The first of eight search-and-rescue teams entered the Sago Mine, more than 11 hours after the blast trapped the miners. Rescue crews were kept out of the mine for most of the day while dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide — a byproduct of combustion — were vented through holes drilled into the ground, authorities said.
Company officials believe the trapped miners were about two miles inside the mine, about 260 feet under the ground. The crew entered the mine on foot for fear of sparking another explosion.
Officials refused to estimate how long it would take to reach the miners. Gene Kitts, a senior vice president at the mine’s owner, International Coal Group, described the rescue effort as “a very slow, very careful, methodical process.”
Washington Post: W.Va. Mine Explosion Traps 13
Rescue Teams Move In Cautiously as Noxious Gases Vent