Ronald Adley, the 37-year-old miner who was imprisoned in a tiny, underground cavity for five ays, was reached by rescuers tonight.
Rescures, who had been working around the clock since Wednesday, broke through the coal wall that separated Adley from safety at 8:45 p.m.
But the rescue is not yet complete. The access hole needs further reaming before it will be big enough for Adley to Squeeze through, according to Steve Shawder, special assistant to the mine company president.
Adley then will begin a mile-long journey to the surface, which includes moving seveal hundred feet up laders before reaching a railhead and boarding a mantrip, or small coal train.
More than 175 persons - friends and relatives of Adley and the seven other men still entombed in the mine, and reporters - braved the brisk winter night waiting for Adley to emerge from the mine entrance.
"It's a mircle that he's coming out, thank God," said the miner's brother, Robert, who stood in the darkness with his mother and two other brothers near the entrance to the Kocher Coal Co.'s Porter Tunnel mine, where Ronald Adley has been trapped since a wild torrent of water swept through about noon on Tuesday.
Robert Adley's wife, Kate, said her brother-in-law's children, Justina, 11, and Ronald Jr., 8, had heard the news about their father on television and were at home.
"They got the news their daddy is okay and they're overjoyed." Kate Adley said. "When I left there. Tina was jumping up and down yelling. They found my daddy, they found my daddy.'"
Families of those miners still missing watched the scene at the mine with mixed emotions.
"If they come out alive, they come out alive," said Bruce Bitting, whose brother-in-law, Ronnie Herb, 32, is still unaccounted for. "Naturally, it's good news when anyone comes out. We'd like to see them all come out, but of course we're worried about Ronnie."
Bitting shifted his weight from one foot to the other and added, "Everyone always has the feeling that this can't happen to me or any of my relatives."
On Friday, in a further effort to find out if others trapped in the mine are alive, state and federal officials commissioned a private contractor to drill an eight-inch bore hole from the mountaintop downward 435 feet to the area where the men are thought to be, based on calcultions from maps. This would enable them to lower a camera to scan the area, below where Adley is, for signs of life.
Drilling, however, began slowly and had rached only 120 feet by mid-afternoon today. And no one was certain that the hole would be in the right place. "If we miss the place, we'll drill another hole. It's all we can do," said Jack Tisdale, a federal Mine Enforcement and Safety Administration official.
"This will be an examination day for a lot of people," he said earlier. "It's not like shooting for the moon, but it's a highly technical business."
outside the mine's entrance, the Rev. Dick Olney of Muir Four Square Church was confident about the fate of one of his church members, Dennis Mogan, trapped in the mine.
"He's a solid, born-again Christian along with his wife," Olney said. "No matter how this turns out it will work out all right for him. As the scripture says. 'For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.'"
Olney said he had talked with Morgan, whose father was injured in the accident, about coal mining a short time ago. "He [Morgan] said, 'I like it in there. It's a challenge. I do the best job I know how, and God is with me,'" Olney said.