An urgent search and rescue operation going on in an underground West Virginia mine right now is atypical: the Rock House Powellton mine is inactive and the missing people are not mine employees.
A West Virginia mine rescue team is attempting to find and rescue three young people who reportedly entered the sealed mine illegally, leaving an all-terrain vehicle near its entrance.
The timeline has four people being reported missing in Raleigh County on Saturday, and an Office of Miners' Health, Safety & Training mine rescue team being activated early Sunday. One of the four, Eddie Williams, exited the mine yesterday and was able to give rescuers information about the location of the other three, who were still alive at that time. However, rescue operations had to be suspended later in the day due to poor ventilation in the mine.
The missing have been identified as Kayla Williams, Erica Treadway and 21-year-old Cody Beverly.
News sources reported that fresh air was being pumped into the mine and standing water was being removed from one exit.
The mine, which is owned by Contura Energy affiliate Elk Run Coal, has been closed for approximately two years. It is illegal to enter an abandoned mine. Williams was initially detained by police but was released so that he could cooperate in the rescue efforts.