Update: Rescue Teams Finally Enter Mine to Search for Missing Miners
West Virginia Governor, Joe Manchin, announced that rescue crews were finally able to enter the Upper Big Branch mine at 4:55 am this morning. The rescue crew consisted of 4 teams of 8 members each and they made their way into the mine by car, foot, and rail.
The search had to be postponed for at least 2 days, so holes could be drilled into the mine to ventilate several poisonous gases, including carbon monoxide, hydrogen and methane. The methane is what most blamed for the explosion, thus far. Even though the search is finally able to continue, many officials and locals don’t expect the 4 miners to come out of it alive at this point; especially considering that the poisonous gases have filled up most of the tunnels and chambers by now.
However, hope still remains that the miners may have made it to one of the emergency, air-tight chambers located throughout the mine. Each chamber is stocked with food, water, and air to keep the miners alive for up to 4 days. Also, according to this video, mine workers have made numerous complaints to government officials about the safety conditions of the mine. The Upper Big Branch mine was also shut down at least 29 times in the past year for violations.
Rescue teams definitely have their work cut out for them. They have taken at least 30 pounds of gear with them, including breathing devices to protect them from the poisonous fumes. The journey from the mine’s entrance to where the 4 miners may be located is at least 5 miles. Plus, there is much darkness, debris from the explosion, and still other dead bodies that need to be found. Manchin said:
“They are advancing. They’ll move as rapidly as they possibly can.”
Right now, they hope to reach the area where they might find the missing miners before noon.
By Heidi Marshall