Three Coal Miners Killed
In West Virginia Explosion
CAMERON, W. Va. -- A methane gas explosion in a coal mine air shaft killed three workers and injured three others who had to be rescued from more than 900 feet below the surface.
The workers had been digging the new shaft, and were 60 feet from reaching the mine when the explosion occurred, officials said.
About an hour later, two sheriff's deputies descended 940 feet into the earth to retrieve the survivors after local emergency workers declined, saying they were not trained for such a rescue.
"Nobody would get the guys out, so we had to jump in," Deputy Brent Wharry said. "We just did what we do every day. This one is just blown out of proportion."
As smoke wafted from the 25-foot-wide hole, Wharry and Deputy Steve Cook climbed into a five-foot-wide bucket attached to a crane and were lowered to where the injured workers were.
"It was a long trip down and a long trip back, but what happened in between was something you can't describe," Wharry said. "I just don't want to talk about it. I just wish anybody would do that if it was me [down there]."
The bodies of the three dead miners were removed from the northern West Virginia mine, which is run by Consol Energy Inc., 12 hours after the blast. Officials identified them as David Abel, 47, and Richard Mount, 37, both from Ohio; and Harry Roush IIII, 23, from Pennsylvania.
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-- From Wire Services