UPDATE: 3 Lost in Raleigh County Mine Found Alive

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UPDATE: 12/2 7:01 P.M.

The WV Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training (MHS&T) confirms that 3 individuals have been found alive at the abandoned Rock House Portal mining site. 

Crews are working to bring the missing 3 to the surface for medical treatment.

More info is pending a press conference in Whitesville at 8 P.M.

Stay with 13 News for the latest information.

UPDATE: 12/12 10:30 PM

Mine rescue teams went back underground at 10 AM on Wednesday

The Director of the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training (MHS&T), Eugene White, addressed the families of three people who are missing in an abandoned coal mine. 

There are eight mine rescuers at the Safe Creek Portal.  Four of these are underground and four are on the surface. 

There are 16 rescuers at the Rock House Portal. Eight are underground and eight are on the surface. 

There is also a mine company inspector at the Rock House Portal.

Ventilators were set up on Tuesday and have been operating for eight to ten hours.  Water pumps also operated overnight, clearing standing water from the mine, which will allow rescuers to expand their search.

White also spoke with the one man who was able to get out of the mine, Eddie Williams, on Wednesday. 

Williams provided more information on the location of the three missing people.  

Mine rescuers will be taking portable oxygen with them to help extend their search.


UPDATE: 12/11 7:30 PM

Law enforcement confirmed that Eddie Williams was able to get out of the mine on his own and is in good condition. However, Kayla Williams, Erica Treadway and Cody Beverly are still missing inside the mine.

Greg Scarboro, grandfather of Cody Beverly, was anxiously awaiting news. He said he spoke with Williams after he got out. 

“I’m waiting on a rescue team to go back and get him. They’ve got some things that they need to do and I understand fully, but I want them to go now,” Scarboro said.

He said the first thing he would tell his grandson is that he loves him, “Then I would kick him real good,” Scarboro chuckled. 

Tuesday, officials worked to remove standing water from an alternate entryway and pump fresh air into the mine, allowing rescue teams to expand their search area in the mine for the missing individuals.

Family and loved ones said news of Williams gives them hope that the remaining three will make it out as well. 

Representatives with the West Virginia National Guard told 59News they had eight more soldiers on site Tuesday, and they are expecting 18 additional soldiers and six more vehicles Wednesday.


UPDATE: 12/11 3:15 PM

The Raleigh County Sheriff has released the names of four people who were reported missing late on Saturday, Dec. 8.  Eddie Williams, Kayla Williams, Erica Treadway and Cody Beverly were missing in the Rock House Powellton Mine. 

Eddie Williams got out of the mine on Monday at around midnight. Sheriff Scott VanMeter said Williams is in good condition and did not need to go to the hospital. Williams is working with law enforcement officers to find the other three people.  

According to Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV), officials are working to remove standing water from an alternate entryway into the mine. They are also pumping air into the mine to allow rescue teams to expand their search.

“Our priority is rescuing these individuals and maintaining the safety of our mine rescue teams.” said Gov. Justice. “I have ordered the coordination of all resources needed for rescuers to continue to search the mine.  We’re doing everything we can to accelerate the rescue.”

Gov. Justice spent time with the families of the missing people overnight and met with the mine rescue team before they went underground.

“These families, friends, and the entire community are really hurting and need to be in our prayers.  We also need to keep the mine rescue teams in our prayers as they attempt to pull of this rescue,” said the Governor added.


UPDATE: 12/11 12:30 AM

According to the WV Department of Commerce, additional rescuers are preparing to enter the Rock House Powelton mine again after one man emerged from the mine with information about the location of the remaining missing individuals.

The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training confirms one of the missing men emerged on his own from the Rock House Powelton mine earlier this evening. The man told officials the remaining three missing individuals were still in the mine and was able to provide details regarding their location. 

“When I learned that the missing people were still in the mine I said we needed to go as fast as we can go to get back in there and get them out,” said the Governor Justice. 

Two four-man teams of rescuers are currently preparing to enter the mine. Earlier this evening the rescue team exited the mine, citing dangerously low oxygen levels.


UPDATE 12/10 12 P.M:

Samantha Smith, Director of Marketing and Communications for the West Virginia Department of Commerce, issued the following update on the search:

“The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training (MHS&T) continues to aid the Raleigh County Sheriff, the Boone County Sheriff, West Virginia State Police and mine officials in the ongoing search for four individuals reported missing late Saturday near the Elk Run Coal Company’s Rock House Powellton Mine in Clear Creek, WV. 

Rough terrain and heavy snow prevented the rescue team from accessing the mine portal where the abandoned ATV was found.

A team of four rescuers, comprised of two members from MHST and two from parent company Alpha Natural Resources, entered the mine through an alternate entrance at approximately 1 p.m. Sunday to begin the search.  The rescuers were blocked by water and forced to exit the mine.

Efforts are currently underway this morning to gain access to the mine entrance where the four are believed to have entered the mine. 

The West Virginia National Guard, through the coordination with the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, is providing a team of six soldiers and three Humvees to assist MHS&T, mine officials and law enforcement in the ongoing search efforts.  Soldiers and assets from WV National Guard will be used to transport equipment and personnel to the mine entrance.

The MHS&T mine rescue team was activated early Sunday morning after an abandoned ATV the individuals were believed to be riding was found near the mine entrance. 

Additional updates will be provided as they become available. “


UPDATE 12/9 5 P.M:

Governor Jim Justice issued a statement following the second abandoned mine incident in two weeks:

“All West Virginians who are driving, riding ATV’s, or hiking near abandoned mines please STOP entering the abandoned mines. This is extremely irresponsible behavior that puts our first responders and mine safety crews in unsafe situations when they should be focused on ensuring safety at active mines. I cannot stress enough how dangerous these abandoned mines are and how hazardous they are to humans.” -Gov. Justice


UPDATE 12/9 1 P.M.:

The West Virginia Office of Miner’s Health, Safety and Training confirmed it is helping the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department search for the four people reported missing near the Elk Run Coal Company’s Rock House Powellton Mine, near Clear Creek. 

A team of four rescuers made up of two members from MHST and two from Alpha Natural Resources entered the mine around 1 p.m. to begin the search.


ORIGINAL:

Four people are reportedly missing near the Clear Creek area of Raleigh County.

According to a press release from the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department, the four were last seen on Saturday, December 8, around 3 a.m.

Deputies believe the four were riding an ATV which was located at the entrance to a mine opening. Mine rescue personnel are on scene and currently assessing the situation.

Deputies told 59News they are not certain if all four people entered the mine. Their conditions are unknown at the time. 

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