Video: Jan. 2:  2002 Mining Survivors discuss WV Accident

msnbc.com
updated 1/3/2006 11:54:28 AM ET 2006-01-03T16:54:28

As the life-and-death drama at the West Virginia mine played out on Monday evening, MSNBC's Rita Cosby talked with two of the nine miners who were pulled out alive of a Pennsylvania mine after being trapped for 77 hours in 2002.

To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

RITA COSBY: Blaine, what'd you think when you heard about these 13 miners today?

BLAINE MAYHUGH, SURVIVED 2002 MINING ACCIDENT:  It was kind of shocking.  The 2006 year just started, and someone called me on the phone and told me about it.  And then we started watching the news all day and we seen it playing over and over and over.  And you know, my heart goes out to all their families and the miners that are trapped.

COSBY:  You know, you bet.  It's just a tough situation.  Tom, what's your sense of this situation?  Are you optimistic?

TOM FOY, SURVIVED 2002 MINING ACCIDENT:  ... Sitting on this side of the television is a heck of a lot different, just trying to watch and see what's going on.  We just hope and pray that they're all right and they got through the blast or whatever happened there.

COSBY:  Let's pray they found a pocket or something.  I want to walk through-because your story is incredible.  And hopefully, it'll be the same wonderful outcome in this case.  Tom, walk us through what happened in 2002.  There you were, all of a sudden, this rush of water, right?

FOY:  Yes, there was lots of water, more than you could ever expect.  I mean, water is one thing, but explosions is another thing.  I mean, water you can at least try to get away from, but once that explosion, it's...

MAYHUGH:  Too quick.  It's already there.

FOY:  It's already there.

COSBY:  How dark it, inside?  Walk us through -- very few people have been inside a coal mine.  What is it like inside?  How dark?  How difficult to find these holes?

MAYHUGH:  As long as your headlights work, you can see well ... the headlight burns 8 to 12 hours, roughly.  And if they're going to be trapped underground so long, they're going have to use their lights sparingly, so whenever they do need to get out or something, that they have light.  But it's absolute dark under there.  I mean, you can actually put your hand in front of your face an inch away and you can't see your hand.  That's how dark it is.

COSBY:  You know, Blaine, how did you get through it?  How did you guys get through it -- 77 hours.

MAYHUGH:  We got through it with each other.  All nine of us, it took all of us together to work as a team.  There were times that you were down.  There were times that you were up.  It was an emotional roller-coaster the whole 77 hours that we were down there, times we thought we was getting out and then, no, the drill bit broke, and just times when we was running out of oxygen.  And then they drilled the six-inch hole and got oxygen down to us in the nick of time.  I mean, it was just an emotional roller-coaster, and it took all nine of us to get through it.

COSBY:  Tom, what do you think the brave men that are down there now are thinking?

FOY:  Well, like I say, I just hope they all made it.  ... I just hope and pray that wherever the blast was or just far enough away that they could at least try to get away from it.

Watch 'Rita Cosby Live & Direct' each night at 9 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

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