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12 Trapped In West Virginia Mine Found Alive Dead

Late this evening a search for 13 miners trapped hundreds of feet underground by an explosion, which had been looking increasingly hopeless, paid off.

TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - Twelve miners caught in an explosion in a coal mine were found alive Tuesday night, sending family members streaming from the church where they had gathered during the nearly two-day ordeal. Joyous shouts rose of "Praise the Lord!"

Bells at the church rang out as family members ran out screaming in jubilation. Relatives yelled "They're alive!"

"They told us they have 12 alive," Gov. Joe Manchin said. "We have some people that are going to need some medical attention."

Rescue crews found the body of a 13th miner earlier Tuesday evening and said they were holding out hope that the others were still alive, even as precious time continued to slip away.

Considering that air quality tests showed carbon monoxide levels four times the maximum safe level earlier in the day, the most of the families who had been praying for nearly two day got their New Year's miracle. Of course, our prayers and sympathies go out to the family of the lone fatality. If details about where contributions to the family of the deceased miner are made available we'll publish those...

Video on the rescue efforts.

Update: 11 of 12 Miners Reported Alive Are Dead

TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - In a stunning and heartbreaking reversal, family members were told early Wednesday that 11 of 12 trapped coal miners found were dead - three hours after they began celebrating news that they were alive.

The devastating new information shocked and angered family members, who had rejoiced with Gov. Joe Manchin hours earlier when a rumor began to spread that the miners were alive. Rescue crews found the first victim earlier Tuesday evening.

"About the confusion, I can't tell you of anything more heart-wrenching than I've ever gone through in my life. Nothing," Manchin said.

The sole survivor of the disaster, identified by mining officials as 27-year-old Randal McCloy, was hospitalized in critical condition early Wednesday, a doctor said. When he arrived, he was unconscious but moaning, the hospital said.


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Comments (23)

Well, maybe not, as of 2:30... (Below threshold)

Well, maybe not, as of 2:30 AM EST.

How horrible is it that now they say 12 total are dead and only one survived.....

Nope-- the news media got i... (Below threshold)
stevewb:

Nope-- the news media got it wrong. Again. 11 dead.

I was watching the initial ... (Below threshold)
stevewb:

I was watching the initial (good) reports on the cable new channels. Emotional reporting-- but the reports were short on fact and sources. I wish they'd get back to reporting the news, instead of relying on emotion and editorial.

Setting the tragedy aside f... (Below threshold)
Scott C:

Setting the tragedy aside for the moment, in a way I'm relieved at these headlines. This is the first time in a long time that I can remember where the news jumped the gun with positive news than with negative.

Our headlines are usually filled with tragedies, some of which never happened, or weren't as bad as were first claimed (i.e. thousands dead and babies raped in New Orleans) and in a twisted way, I'm glad to see that some misreporting cuts both ways.

I don't think you can pin t... (Below threshold)

I don't think you can pin this one on the media. After all, the media reported that news had gotten to the congregations at the church, and they were celebrating. That's what they reported. Also, Governor Manchin had heard the same thing.

This is just a complete mess, and the conflict at the church after they were corrected overshadowed what was indeed a miracle, as none of them should have been alive in that mine, yet one was able to. We should be happy that one was able to make it out, rather than sad and angry that the others died.

This is incredibly macabre ... (Below threshold)

This is incredibly macabre news. There seems to have been quite a few underlying problems, with this mine and the industry as a whole that caused this incident.

The greater tragedy is that we still rely on an incredibly dirty fossil fuel to power our lives, when nuclear is both safer and renewable if used properly.

You can find all my reasons for preferring nuclear, as well as commentary about the Chinese coal situation (6500 deaths per year) at Earth Sentinel where you will also find peak oil, renewable energy, and climate change news.

Well, nuclear isn't *exactl... (Below threshold)

Well, nuclear isn't *exactly* renewable but you get such an incredible amount of energy out of a tiny bit of matter that we're not going to run out of Uranium for a long, long time if it's properly recycled, even if we get all our electrical power and heating needs from nuclear reactors.

More people die worldwide in any given year mining coal than from all nuclear accidents put together and that includes idiotic episods like Chernobyl which should never have happened. In fact, if you count deaths from pollution, quite possibly many more people die each year in the United States than have ever died from nuclear power-related accidents...

No real "environmentalist" who knows all the facts would be dead set against nuclear power.

Nothing like stomping on th... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

Nothing like stomping on the graves of 12 people and the hearts of countless others to get your political points across about the environment. Jerk.

Aside from that, it would seem the media was just running the story about the complete joy of the waiting family matters when the rumors spread about the remaining 12 being found alive. Their sources were other family members that were spreading the news, I don't think this was a case of shoddy journalism.

No, the media IS to balme. ... (Below threshold)
LJD:

No, the media IS to balme. When did they become relieved of any responsibility to fact check? Perhaps there was nothing to be done about celebrating family-members, but what about the headlines printed, that the miners were alive? Just printed on heresay?

We've seen misrepresentations repeatedly about the President. This time, their headline chasing deeply affected Americans coping with a tragedy. Our journalists need to be held to a higher standard.

I'd give the media a break ... (Below threshold)
Adam:

I'd give the media a break on this one. I watched chunks of almost every Cable News service during the ordeal, and while I certainly fault the tone of the questioning throughout, I find it hard to blame people for reporting what everyone involved (except the police/rescue, who were insuring CNN and other cameras hit the ground) believed to be true. For them to still have run, "Presumed dead," or "Situation unclear," when dozens were cheering at the Church and family members themselves were giving positive responses would have appeared more than confusing to those at home.

Some things never change...... (Below threshold)
Oh, FTLOG:

Some things never change..."No, the media IS to balme."

And just what do you consider "fact-checking"? Watching the men walk out of the mine? Silly me, I would have thought that information from the families and the Governor were enough to go with.

How 'bout we forget politics for a one day and support and pray for the families ? Mkay?

I wouldn't - what they did ... (Below threshold)
Amphipolis:

I wouldn't - what they did was inexcusable. They reported rumor as fact, and have taken no responsibility for their error. This story is about to drop off the front page like a lead baloon.
http://www.furiousnads.com/2006/Jan/the_media-made_miracle

Hmmm.1. Fact check... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

1. Fact checking means clearing this with the mine company. Politicians are politicians all the world over. Quick to assume credit, even quicker to dispose of blame.

2. Basing a news report on innuendo and rumor isn't a positive thing.

3. If you want to talk environment then let's talk about enviro-weenies who caused this whole nonsense by preventing strip mining.

Frankly this is a terrible tragedy that could only be made worse by 24/7 news that's doing nothing else but running this stuff endlessly.

Environmentalists are to bl... (Below threshold)
Oh, FTLOG:

Environmentalists are to blame for the 12 miners' deaths? WOW!

Did you know that, according to the liberal blogs, Bush is to blame because he eased corporate regulations and "corporate America" bank-rolls GOP candidates?

WTF? I hate to be a wet blanket, but sometimes stuff happens and neither party is to blame.

12 good men are dead. THAT's the story. Now let's find out how to keep it from happening again.

Come on, the media is NOT t... (Below threshold)

Come on, the media is NOT to blame here. They were simply reporting what they saw on the ground, and wanted to believe the best. They had heard that these men were alive, and the Governor of the state of West Virginia had made some comments about them being alive. I think it reasonable to assume, in that circumstance, that the men are alive, and to wait for confirmation about which ones ARE alive. Also, chances are that company officials weren't exactly available for comment at this point (in fact, knowing that they were probably dead, they were most likely avoiding the media at that point).

Although, someone at work mentioned the difference between CNN and CNN Headline News. CNN was re-running Anderson Cooper's news program from earlier in the day, saying that the miners were alive. CNN Headline News was reporting the truth at that point, live - they were dead. Anderson Cooper was filing the reports. So one chanel, Cooper was reporting they were alive, and on the other, they were dead. Very strange.

It would be just as true, w... (Below threshold)

It would be just as true, wouldn't it, to say environmentalists are responsible for hundreds of thousands of coal miners across the country having jobs.

I'm as much for reviving civilian nuclear energy as anyone, but blaming anti-nuclear folks for this makes no sense at all.

They were simply reporti... (Below threshold)
Amphipolis:

They were simply reporting what they saw on the ground, and wanted to believe the best.

No, they were reporting unfounded rumors to maybe scoop their competitors and get a feather in their caps. They had no regard for the consequences their gambit would have with the families if they were wrong, knowing that they can't be held accountable for their failures. They are not about to report their own mistakes. Nothce how responsible officials held back until they knew their information was accurate.

What was the source? All I heard was someone from the mine or the mining area, which could be just about anyone. The Governor was just repeating what was reported as fact, like everyone else.

What official of the mining... (Below threshold)
LJD:

What official of the mining company corroborated this story? None. Were they even asked? No.

This is Journalism 101: check your sources. Unfortunately (judging by the comments here) we have been all too accustomed to seeing news about nothing. i.e. speculation, unsubstantiated "reports", false "eyewitness accounts"... This is not journalism, but entertainment.

Reporting is a story about what HAS happened. Entertainment is running stories as they unfold, speculating on the outcomes, exploring every possibility... at the expense of the victims and their families.

Now we see the media beating this story to death. Why? They were wrong, they know it, it's time to cover some asses.

I don't see what this has to do with politics. If the media had any respect at all for these families, they would now leave them the hell alone.

I really don't know that I ... (Below threshold)

I really don't know that I can comment on this cohesively right now. Perhaps the media was quick to report this because we demand immediate news. Weren't we hearing the residents of that town complaining 24 hours ago about how slowly news was coming to them? I did notice that Geraldo's first words to one of the celebrants was, "Who told you this?" At least he was considering the source of the information, as any competent reporter should.

Additionally, the mining company wouldn't be in a position to confirm or deny the report to journalists, not wanting the families of the trapped men to find out their fate through a news source rather than in an official announcement. These men were, after all, their employees and their responsibility, and that responsibility extends to taking care of their families. I do, however, think that the company should have done something to quiet the false rumor, if nothing more than a statement to the effect of "this is not confirmed, nor is it official, and should not be regarded as factual." They would have been accused of trying to throw a "wet blanket" on the celebration, but they would have been seen in a much better light by this morning.

Bottom line, the whole scenario is a tragedy of grand proportions, and it's a shame that the grief of those families who have lost a husband, father, grandfather, or brother will be more-or-less lost in the shuffle as the MSM focuses on the "story" of the rumor.

I just saw the Governor bei... (Below threshold)
Chris:

I just saw the Governor being interviewed, and he said when he heard the news he went to the Command Center to check it out, and they were celebrating in the Command Center. How far were you expecting the media to go to confirm what everyone on the scene were saying was true?

A simple preface of "Tonigh... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

A simple preface of "Tonight we are receiving reports..." would have been all it would have taken for the media to cover itself. You don't report something as fact unless you're damn sure it's fact...period! I could be wrong, but I don't remember the media proclaiming all the miners rescued that last mine accident until in fact they were all taken from the ground.
As far as the Governor is concerned, I don't know if what he said is true or not, but it is clear to me that his spreading the news that most miners had in fact been rescued contributed to the media being so willing to go whole hog with an unconfirmed story and at the end of the day neither he nor anyone else wants to be the one people hold responsible for this mis-reported story.

Hmmm.How ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

How far were you expecting the media to go to confirm what everyone on the scene were saying was true?

How far? I'd expect them to go find the head of the mine company on-site and ask him a direct question on whether or not anyone survived and if so how many.

The basis for this is nothing more and nothing less than rumor.

The mainstream media are no... (Below threshold)
Paul:

The mainstream media are nothing more than sock puppets for the liberal democrats.

They should actually try reporting the news instead of trying to make it.




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