updated 1/4/2006 2:50:53 PM ET 2006-01-04T19:50:53

Guests John Bennett, Cyril Wecht, Robert Blake, Joe Tallman, Bruce Dial, Michelle Brady, Robin Murphy, Jana Zehner

RITA COSBY, HOST:  I am LIVE AND DIRECT tonight from right in front of the Sago mine in central West Virginia.  I‘m right in front of the processing center.  This is where the coal kind of comes in and out of.  But about a half a mile down the road is where those 13 miners went in yesterday morning at 6:30 in the morning.

Tonight, they are praying for a miracle here in West Virginia and around the country, hoping that the 13 miners may be found alive.  And again, it will be a miracle.  The chances are very, very slim.  In fact, we‘re just getting word, now some breaking news crossing the AP wires at this moment, that apparently, they have located one body inside the mine.  The Associated Express is reporting.  We also had our own separate additional source telling us a few hours ago that one body was located inside the mine, inside of Sago mine.

We know that in the last few hours, several rescue crews have been going deep into the mine shaft.  They were going so much, about 12,000 feet.  And they believed, at that point, they would reach the final part of the mine, locating whether there‘s anyone alive or dead.  And unfortunately, now getting some grim news just coming in just now, Associated Press reporting, and also one of our sources telling us, a few hours ago, someone who was in touch with the rescue crews, that, indeed, one body has been located in the mine, some grim news, and of course, the news that folks here were hoping would not come through tonight.

No word yet, though, on the fate of all the miners.  Remember, there were 13 inside.  It is possible that maybe some others possibly survived.  But this word right now we‘re just getting this breaking news.

Let me bring in, if I could, my colleague, Lisa Daniels.  Associated Press is reporting—we were hearing also ourselves a few hours ago—what, that around 5:30 Eastern time, that they may have located one body deep into the mine shaft.  What is the sense—give us a sense of the rescue efforts that were going on today.

LISA DANIELS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Obviously, this is horrible news.  And what makes it even worse is, as the accident, as we understand it, the explosion, happened, if they‘re finding one body, one can only assume, and this is a big assumption, that the other 12 are with him.

Now, as you know, the governor just finished giving a briefing to the family members at the church.  We‘re expecting officials coming here to give us a briefing.  But now we‘re hearing this grim news.  And I know that all the families are thinking, What about the other 12?

COSBY:  Absolutely.  You know, give us—the one thing we heard, grim news starting out the day today—we‘re all holding out hope and praying.  And then we heard that the carbon monoxide levels, which are obviously toxic, obviously deadly, were three times the normal level.

DANIELS:  Right.  It‘s the carbon monoxide that is the dangerous thing here.  It‘s not the lack of oxygen.  Yesterday, we were hearing all these rumors as to how much oxygen they have in their tanks.  That wasn‘t the concern.  The concern is this carbon monoxide.  And when they went into the first hole, they put in these air-monitoring devices, and what they found is exactly what you said, that the carbon monoxide levels were three times higher than what the government says is lethal.

So given that scenario, if the coal miners were at all exposed to that carbon monoxide, it is a grim tale.

COSBY:  And in fact, we‘re told that a news conference is going to be happening in the next half hour or so, as we‘re here live right in front of the Sago mine.  You can see that preparations are taking place for this news conference.  And again, the Associated Press is unfortunately reporting some grim news.

We were also told, again, around 5:30 Eastern time, a few hours ago, from one source, which is why we didn‘t report it right away—but one source who was talking directly to the rescue crews telling us that one body was located deep into the shaft, several thousand feet in.

Of course, family members here are praying, praying that their loved one is not among the dead, are now getting word that this one person has been located, praying that maybe some other miners went to an air pocket, went to a pocket for safety.

And joining us, of course, is John Bennett.  John, I‘m sorry to tell you this news, as we just heard.  Your father‘s inside.


COSBY:  How are you doing?

BENNETT:  (INAUDIBLE) with what they are—they‘re telling us little by little what the news is, saying—updating us what everybody feels they should be.  They‘re just—basically what everybody at the church is feeling, they‘re just stringing us along.  They‘re not...

COSBY:  Not giving you any information.

BENNETT:  They‘re not telling us the truth on what‘s happening.

COSBY:  What are they telling you throughout the day?  What was the last briefing that you got as a family member?

BENNETT:  We had a briefing around about 5:30, telling us that the rescue crews was heading for two left.  And at that time, they said within two to four hours, they would reach the end of the mines, and they would update us at that time.  We were supposed to have another briefing at 7:30.  They sent word over 7:30 that it was going to be quarter to 8:00.  And when I left down there at 20 after 8:00, they still hadn‘t turned around and told the families nothing.

They‘re just keeping us in the dark.  You know, it‘s unfair to the families.  If they know what has happened, just tell the families and let us deal with our pain.

COSBY:  One of the things that they mentioned, even, too, was that they were going to felt families first.  Of course, they‘ve located, at this point, John, one body.  We‘re praying, of course, it‘s not that of your father‘s.  And of course, there‘s a lot of air pockets in there.  And who knows, maybe your dad and some of the others found a safe place.

BENNETT:  Hopefully did.

COSBY:  Tell us about your dad, too.  And you‘re close to him.  I know you gave us a picture of him, too.  You look—you look just like your dad.  Tell us about your father and his dedication to mining.

BENNETT:  Dad‘s been in the mines right at 30 years.  Very good believer in the Lord, all the time helping people throughout the church and throughout the community.  And I know if he did die—I know he‘s underground, trying to save the other miners that was there with him, doing what he could to try and make things safe.

COSBY:  Your dad had a lot of experience, right?


COSBY:  He was very dedicated.  You were telling me earlier, too, he loved what he was doing.  He was working hard.

BENNETT:  He liked going to the mines every day.  But the sad part about it was he just—even though the mines was unsafe—they would have several mine falls throughout the year, and just one right after another, but it was just the company—they kept switching hands, and the only thing they worried about was how they can line their pockets instead of being safe.

COSBY:  Do you feel they didn‘t do enough precautions...


COSBY:  ... weren‘t looking out for...


COSBY:  ... for folks like your dad and others?

BENNETT:  This mine had 208 safety violations in 2005.  If they think that was satisfactory, I mean, you know, that‘s why we have 13 men underground today.

COSBY:  Was your...

BENNETT:  When...

COSBY:  Did your dad say how dangerous it was and how concerned he is?

BENNETT:  Yes, he...

COSBY:  These are brave guys who go in there.

BENNETT:  He would come around and tell me all the time, you know, how unsafe the mines was, how unstable the rift (ph) was, the floor.  The worst thing that ever happened to West Virginia coal miners is when the coal companies went to working non-union, instead of letting the union control the safety in the mines.

COSBY:  They went to other places and...

BENNETT:  If the United Mine Workers would have stayed, would have been able to stay in the mines, this wouldn‘t have happened.

COSBY:  What was your dad‘s biggest fear going in?  I mean, how did he prepare himself every day to go to work and going thousands of feet into the earth?  It‘s incredible.

BENNETT:  Right here was his biggest fear, not coming home.

COSBY:  And again, John, we pray tonight that your dad is not among those.  We‘re praying tonight—we‘re just hearing word that one person has been found.  We‘re just praying that your dad found a safe air pocket.  Your dad was—is skilled.  Do you think he trained for something like this?  Do you think they were well trained enough?

BENNETT:  I honestly don‘t think there‘s enough training in the world that could prepare anyone for an explosion.  I—the men went through different types of training.  But I believed in myself that there‘s no training that could prepare anybody for a sudden explosion like this.

COSBY:  What—what do you think caused this?  What is your sense, from being around this industry?

BENNETT:  I honestly can‘t say what happened.  They‘re telling us that they think maybe a lightning strike caused it, but in my own mind, I can‘t understand how lightning could have caused an explosion like this.  They said there was no dust, there was no methane.  So what did the lightning do to explode the mine?  They‘re not telling us nothing.  I feel the company...

COSBY:  And John, we‘ve got the news conference, in fact, coming up.  Stick with us because I want to you listen in.  This is the news conference from the group that owns the mine.  Let‘s listen in, if we could, everybody.

BEN HATFIELD, INTERNATIONAL COAL GROUP PRES. & CEO:  The two left section have been breached by substantial explosive force that apparently originated from within the sealed area.  Mine rescue crews have also located the body of a miner near the belt drive at the entrance to the second left section, which is roughly 11,250 feet from the mine portal.

Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to identify and confirm the deceased miner‘s identity.  Plans are to bring the body out as soon as possible and identification may precede removal of the body.

The mine rescue crews are still operating under mask in rescue mode and are continuing to look for survivors.  The man bus used by the 12-man production crew has been spotted on the rail track approximately 700 feet beyond the first body location but none of the passengers have yet been found.

It appears that the passengers exited the man bus under their own power and made their way toward the intake escape way but we do not know from there at this point where they‘ve gone.

We‘ve reached the furthest extent that we can with the mine rescue crews under their current apparatus.  They can only extend this investigation under mask, if you will, under their self breathing apparatus for about 1,000 feet.  At that point, they have to move up their base ventilation system.

So, efforts are underway now to restore the ventilation in and around the mouth of the second left and allow the miners to go further into the mine and confirm the location of our remaining employees.

So we have one body located, 12 people missing.  They apparently exited their portal bus, the vehicle they were riding under their own power and at this point have not been located.

We brought the map to give you just a quick view of where these events are taking place.  I apologize for the nature of the presentation but we‘ll try to make it simple.

The ventilation seals that have been breached by the explosion are in this area near the top of the main line.  The portal, the mine entrance is back here at the lower left-hand corner of the map.

We‘ve been coming in with rescue crews along this entire corridor to open up the ventilation system and access our employees.  It‘s been our belief throughout this episode that our employees are in this second left location. 

That continues to be our belief, although now there‘s indication that they may have exited this area walking toward the outside but we do not know at this point where they are.

Significant work will have to be done on the ventilation system at this location before we can go all the way to the faces and confirm the location of the employees, so it may be another three to four hours before we have a further update.

With that, I‘ll try to briefly address any questions that you may pose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How encouraging—how encouraging is it that these miners left that bus on their own power?

HATFIELD:  That‘s a very good thing.  In fact, it‘s also a good thing that the portal bus wasn‘t devastated.  It wasn‘t damaged.  It wasn‘t thrown off the track.  It simply stopped and the employees, the production crew appear to have exited under their own power.

So that‘s yet another glimmer of hope but it raises a lot of question as to where the employees might have gone.  The production crew should have had an hour‘s worth of oxygen on their belt system and that should have gotten them to the outside so we don‘t now what‘s been the hold up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Was the body on the bus or was it beside the bus?

HATFIELD:  Wait, just a moment.  The body was about 700 feet from the bus.  This appears to have been an employee that was working along the belt line near the entrance to the section.  The body was located here.  The production crew and their portal bus was up in this area.  The working face is up here, so the body that‘s been located is about 700 feet from where the bus was located.


HATFIELD:  Yes, yes the body, yes to answer your question that employee was apparently working on the belt line and was not associated with the production crew.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So it was fire boss probably?

HATFIELD:  We‘re not certain at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Could it be that?

HATFIELD:  It could be.  I‘m sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Is there a possibility that these rescuers will get to a point in that mine where it‘s simply too dangerous for them to be in there and, if so, then what?

HATFIELD:  We haven‘t confronted that situation to this point.  Again, the delay that we‘re encountering at this point is simply that we‘ve reached the furthest extent that our equipment will go without moving up the ventilation system. 

We restore the ventilation structure as we move deeper into the mine and the crews, the rescue crews can even extend about 1,000 feet beyond that under their mask with full self-contained breathing arrangements, so that is the limitation that‘s now causing us to have to go back to remedy the ventilation where these seals were breached and then go further in to the mine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you envision any possibility, any scenario where it‘s simply too dangerous and you have to say, hey, they have to get out of there?

HATFIELD:  That kind of scenario could certainly arise but we have not seen any indication to this point that that‘s going to be the case here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Can you talk about the condition of the body that was located and did it appear that he was injured by the blast or maybe fell victim to the toxic fumes you talked about?

HATFIELD:  I don‘t have any information at all on the condition of the body.  As you can I‘m sure appreciate our rescue teams are in rescue mode.  They identify a body.  If the person is deceased, they simply tag it, confirm the location, report it to the outside, move quickly toward the face trying to find the remaining employees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What‘s the distance between the opening of the mine to where this gentleman‘s body was found?

HATFIELD:  Approximately 11,200 feet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What‘s the quality of the air?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Can you describe what the damage would have looked like to the ventilation systems?

HATFIELD:  What the damage would look like? 


HATFIELD:  The seals, these are permanent ventilation seals.  They‘re somewhat different than the stoppings that we‘ve been talking about.  Ventilation stoppings are constructed in the normal course as mine tunnels are advanced to separate intake air from return air.

But ventilation seals are constructed to separate an abandoned area from the rest of the active mine, so they are normally permanent structures that are much more substantial than just the normal ventilation stoppings.  So, an explosive force that would completely devastate a set of seals in that fashion would indeed be a very substantial explosive force.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I can‘t help but to say that 11,200 feet is the same estimate that you gave where the rescuers had got to at the last press conference.  Did they find him just right after that press conference?  Did they find him right after your information?

HATFIELD:  Again, 11,200 feet is the depth from the portal but there are eight different tunnels and the body happened to be located in the belt tunnel, not the intakes that we were talking about earlier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What went through your mind when you heard there was this body discovered?

HATFIELD:  I don‘t even know how to respond to that.  It‘s a—it‘s a nightmare.  It‘s the worst news we can possibly deliver to families that are anxiously awaiting good news, so we‘re devastated by it.  The families are devastated.  There‘s a lot of anxiety because we haven‘t yet identified the employee, so our heart and prayers at this point are with the families.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Carbon monoxide levels?

HATFIELD:  At this point, they‘re somewhat elevated as we‘ve approached the area where the men appear to have abandoned their rail transportation.  I think we‘ve seen indications in the range of 300 to 400 parts per minute or parts per million of CO in the belt entry.  Over on the intake it‘s more like 30 parts per million, so in the intake air it‘s near normal but in the track entry it‘s elevated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Given the fact that conditions are such that these rescuers are now using oxygen because the air is so bad apparently what are you thoughts, is there any way that these guys where you think they may be could have found clean, breathable air, safe air?

HATFIELD:  I don‘t want to speculate because, again, we‘ve been through that discussion.  Our hope is that they—that they found an area and secured it, built barricades and were able to survive but we just don‘t know those answers at this point, so I‘d rather not speculate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You said the explosive force came from within the seal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What does that mean?

HATFIELD:  That means there was an ignition in the abandoned area, in the sealed area that should normally be an inert environment and normally thereby protected from explosion, so we‘re not sure what happened back there but somehow a fuel source and an ignition came together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you done with the drilling and focusing on the rescue teams now?

HATFIELD:  The drilling is simply suspended because the crews were making more progress, the rescue crews were moving quickly toward where the employees were located and that was our quickest means of getting in, so the drill holes were essentially our fall back on getting information.  So, those activities are suspended only because we‘re moving forward faster with another mode.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How tough is this news for you to deliver to the family that is your company?

HATFIELD:  It‘s about the hardest thing I‘ve ever had to do but we remain hopeful that there will be some good news before it‘s all over with but hopes certainly are stretched thin at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Is there another exit?  When you said they might be making their way towards an exit when they left their bus is there some way they could have tunneled out from there?

HATFIELD:  No, it would not have been practical to tunnel out.  They would simply have to move through the existing tunnels toward the mine portal.  There are several different routes they could have used to come to the outside but, again, because we‘ve come from the outside toward them and we‘ve not encountered anything to this point that indicates their presence, we‘re somewhat mystified as to exactly what may have happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In terms of linear feet of entry that‘s still away and stretching what kind of distance are we talking in total in terms of linear feet of entry?

HATFIELD:  Well, I would estimate that we‘re probably about 4,000 feet from the production faces, 3,000 to 4,000 more or less with our current air base, so that could be as much as 70,000, 80,000 linear feet I guess, nine entries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Can you point to that on the map?  Can you show where the body was found and where you are still searching, where you‘re focusing this evening?

HATFIELD:  The body was found here in the belt entry near—this is the two left section.  This is where the production crew was going to work on Monday morning.  So, one body was found here.  The portal bus was about 700 feet deeper into the mine and that‘s where the production crew apparently abandoned the bus and started moving toward the outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Can you show where they would be moving to the outside in your opinion?

HATFIELD:  Well, ideally they would have come over to the intake side and started following this green line all the way up towards the mine portal.  That would have—that‘s what we call the primary escape way, the intake escape way.  That would have given us hopefully a very good outcome but because we have moved in on that course and we haven‘t crossed them yet, we don‘t know where they are.  It‘s possible that someone may have become confused and gone up into the old works.  We just don‘t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did you say that was the abandoned part where you...

HATFIELD:  This is the abandoned area that had been sealed off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  OK and that‘s where there are indications the explosion originated?



HATFIELD:  The explosion apparently originated behind the seals in this area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The fact that it originated there in an inert area what does that tell you about what may have caused this?

HATFIELD:  It‘s really too early to speculate.  I‘d rather leave that to the investigation that lies ahead once we‘ve done our best to try to get our people out safely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Ben, can you tell us the body that was found, the victim who was found, any indication that that person tried to get the emergency equipment or use the emergency equipment he had with him?

HATFIELD:  I do not have any information on that.  I just don‘t know the answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are the rescue teams encountering debris?

HATFIELD:  No, not to this point.  I‘ve not had any reports of substantial debris.  Again, when we have more information we will bring it to you. 

At this point, we‘re expecting possibly a two to four-hour hiatus while we reestablish ventilation where these seals were blown out and then try to move forward with the rescue crews.  It takes a few hours for them to move their air base forward so they can safely explore deeper into the mine, so that‘s what‘s ongoing at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Is there any way you can just explain to the people on simple terms that are not miners what exactly that means, that the seals bust (ph) and things of that nature?

HATFIELD:  Well, the seals being busted simply means an area that was

that was low on oxygen and possibly had other gases accumulated and has now been opened into that environment because the seals were blown out.

So, you have the problem of the bad air that was behind the seals now being opened to the mine environment and also the combustion gases from the explosion being in the mine environment, so all this basically puts more bad stuff in the air that creates the hazards that our self rescuer—that our rescue crews, if you will, are trying to manage around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Is there any, I mean is there anything outside of the mine that you can compare this to that people can maybe understand a little bit more?

HATFIELD:  I don‘t have a good example that makes it simple but in short we‘re not dealing with a situation of a roof cave in or collapse or anything of that nature.  We‘re dealing with a situation where because of an explosion, because of breached seals the environment, the breathing environment became toxic.  The ventilation system was disrupted and our employees were no doubt trying to find a safe way to exit the mine.  That‘s all we know at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Hatfield, how many total employees work at this mine under normal conditions?

HATFIELD:  Gene?  I‘m told it‘s about 145 people.  Again, we will give you more information when we have it.  I need to get back to the crews and do our best to provide guidance in the command center.  So, thank you for your attention.


COSBY:  And you‘ve just been listening to a press briefing from the International Coal Group.  That‘s the group that last year bought the Sago mine, which I‘m standing in front of.  Some grim news, of course, to report.  They were confirming what Associated Press was reporting and also that our source was also telling us, that one body has been located.  They were saying he was located 11,200 feet from the portal.  That‘s the entrance way to the mine, which is just about half a mile from where I‘m standing here in Sago.  And told that this body, no identification, at this point, just one body, at this point, saying that it was located 700 feet from the bus.  That‘s the rail bus.

You know, going into these mines very treacherous, very dangerous, very dark.  They go in in sort of small buses.  And it looks like the rest of the men were probably located on the bus, or at least a large portion of them were located on this bus because sometimes the shafts are only five feet, four-and-a-half feet high.  You have to physically be sitting to go into that kind of territory.  So while they‘re going in, they‘re in this bus.  And we‘re told—the good news is that the other members that were on this bus—and they don‘t know exactly how many of the 13 were on the bus itself, how many were outside the bus.

This gentleman that they located sounds like he was located outside of the bus.  But they say the others that were on the bus were not thrown off, that the bus—the portal man (ph) bus, as they describe it, as they call it, was not damaged, in other words, that was not the source of the explosion, and that the gentlemen that were on that—that particular bus, the miners that have been working so hard in this mine for so many years, actually got off on their own and were able to escape.

The question is, where are they now?  Are they alive?  Were they lucky enough to find one of those air pockets located in this treacherous territory?  But as you could hear, there are 13,000 feet, basically, of mine that they‘re going into.  That‘s a lot of mine.  So maybe they found one of the air pockets.  Maybe there are still some survivors.

And what they‘re doing right now is trying to clear it out.  They said they found some high levels of carbon monoxide, which is, of course, very treacherous, very deadly gas, trying ventilate it.  And once they ventilate it, then they‘re going to go back in, in some two to four hours, when they feel the levels are sufficient enough and safe enough for rescues workers to go back in, and praying, hoping for a miracle, hoping that there are maybe 12 survivors or even one or two survivors amongst the 13 miners that went in.

Among those who went in is Jim Bennett.  He‘s the father of John Bennett.  And John is still with us.  Thank you, first of all, for being with us in such a private, such a—such a tough moment, I‘m sure, for you.  What was your reaction to the news conference that you just heard?

BENNETT:  It‘s kind of irritating because the body they found, they do know who he is.

COSBY:  They said they can‘t identify it.  Why do you believe they can?

BENNETT:  Each man has an identification on him.

COSBY:  A tag?

BENNETT:  Has a tag on his belt.  The mine personnel do know who it is.  They should take his family aside and let them know.  It‘s—I feel they‘re treating this whole situation wrong.  They‘re not letting the families know what is happening.  They‘re keeping us in suspense.

I believed in myself, you know, being around my dad for almost 30 years, him being in the mines, and they know more than what they‘re telling us.  And it‘s unreal the way they‘re doing this situation.  They should tell the family member, take him aside and let them get on with their grief.  Let them—stop this waiting game.  It‘s—it‘s just—it‘s not right.

COSBY:  Are you optimistic at all that—you know, we‘ve seen a prayer, a miracle in Somerset, Pennsylvania, in 2002, when those guys got out after 77 hours.  Are you praying, obviously, right now for a miracle that your dad and maybe the other guys, his buddies, found a safe air pocket in there?

BENNETT:  I‘d love to see each and every one of them get out and be back with their families.  But it‘s been this long, it‘s—the longer it goes, the worse feeling I get about it.

COSBY:  John, we thank you very much for being here with us.  And I know—I know you‘ve got to go.  I know you‘ve got to call your mom.  And our prayers are with you tonight.  We pray that your dad is going to be one of those miracles.

BENNETT:  I hope so.

COSBY:  (INAUDIBLE) and thank you so much for being with us.

BENNETT:  Thank you.

COSBY:  A very difficult time.  John, thank you.

BENNETT:  Thank you.

COSBY:  Thank you.  Prayers are with you, sir.

John Bennett, who—of course, we‘re praying for John and all the other families, right now in Sago mine.  John hoping that a miracle is going to happen, that his father, who‘s been in the mining business for 30 years, maybe he‘s one of the lucky ones.  Right now, the word is just one body has been located.  And they don‘t know where the other bodies are.  They‘re calling 12 people missing at this hour. 

Let‘s bring in, if we could, Dr. Cyril Wecht.  He‘s a forensic pathologist. 

Dr. Wecht, you‘ve been hearing the news conference.  I hope you were able to hear the update?


COSBY:  What do you surmise may have happened now? 

WECHT:  Yes, what I infer, from what has been spoken thus far, is that these people have not died from blunt force trauma due to the explosion.  Apparently, they were not burned, incinerated, or subjected to thermal injuries as a result of the explosion, all of which is good.  The fact that they were able to get off that bus that moves them around is a very good sign that, at that point in time, they were alive and physically able. 

As far as the one miner who has been found dead, they did not tell us exactly from what cause, but one could surmise perhaps he was going for help.  Maybe he was trying to find something as a kind of a sentinel for the group.  We can only speculate on that. 

What we‘re looking at, Rita, it seems to me is not anything of a toxic nature, although sometimes methane gas, which can be deadly, is present in these situations.  But it seems to me we‘re talking about either lack of oxygen, which is anoxia, hypoxia, just deprivation of oxygen, or we‘re talking about carbon monoxide. 

He mentioned that, in some areas, they have 300 parts per million.  A safe environment mandated by federal law is below 50 parts per million.  Three hundred parts per million, you would not last very long.  So, if that is the case, these people are in real trouble. 

I have no way of knowing, of course, where they are.  But it seems to me that, if they can get to a place where there is a pocket of oxygen, then they can survive for a long time.  Water, food will not be a big problem.  Air is the issue. 

COSBY:  Dr. Wecht, you talked about the carbon monoxide level.  How long could you sustain yourself?  How long can life sustain with those high levels? 

WECHT:  I would say, with 300 parts per million, you‘d be talking about—oh, it could be just a matter of an hour, or two, or three.  In other words, you‘re talking about just a few hours.  You‘re not talking about many hours or talking about days.  It depends on whether that is a sustained level of such high CO concentration.  If it is, then I dare say the outlook is simply not good. 

COSBY:  Dr. Wecht, stick with us, because I want to bring in, if I could, Dr. Robert Blake.  He‘s an ER doctor with St. Joseph‘s Hospital in West Virginia, not too far from here. 

Dr. Blake, I understand that you treated some of the miners who got out, the ones—we know that earlier yesterday, when we heard the report at 6:30 in the morning when that call came in, there was a group of miners that called in and said there was an explosion, that they were getting out, that they were able to get out.  Of course, we know that 13 others we heard no communication from and were obviously trapped inside. 

But you actually, I understand, treated the ones who did get out. 

What kind of injuries did they have?  What did they tell you? 

DR. ROBERT BLAKE, ST. JOSEPH‘S HOSPITAL:  Actually, I did not treat them, ma‘am.  It was another physician that treated them.  However, they did have some minor injuries.  And they were just treated and released. 

COSBY:  What did they say about what happened and what they saw to the other doctor? 

BLAKE:  They said that they had felt a blast and heat and then they got out. 

COSBY:  Do they know what the source of the blast was?  Were they surmising anything? 

BLAKE:  No, ma‘am, they did not. 

COSBY:  Did they suggest that they had any warnings at all? 

BLAKE:  No, they did not. 

COSBY:  And when you mention minor injuries, what kinds of injuries did they have, Doctor? 

BLAKE:  Just from falling down and from—not burns, as would you think of as, like, from fire, but minor heat burns. 

COSBY:  And how far away were they from the 13 men are trapped?  Do we know about how separate they were?  We were hearing that they were maybe eight or ten minutes behind them.  Do we have any sense of distance? 

BLAKE:  No, ma‘am, I do not. 

COSBY:  We know that the carbon monoxide levels were very high today.  And we just heard again, during the press conference, that they had some high levels again.  They‘re trying to ventilate the system.  Kind of explain how that works, Doctor, and why that is so critical to air that out. 

BLAKE:  Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas to us as humans.  And we use oxygen to keep ourselves alive and all.  And with carbon monoxide, it binds to our hemoglobin.  So, instead of transporting oxygen to our cells and to our brain and to our heart, it transports carbon monoxide, which our body can‘t use.  And, when that happens, the body starts to shut down, because of the low oxygen. 

COSBY:  And did they have...

BLAKE:  Now, what they‘re going to try to do is ventilate and decrease the parts per million of carbon monoxide.  And that‘s just how we would treat people if they were to come in with carbon monoxide poisoning.  We would put them on high-flow oxygen and treat them that way.  And if we had to, we could put them in a hyperbaric chamber.  We do not have one here.  Our closest ones are in Pittsburgh and Wheeling. 

COSBY:  How long could someone sustain themselves, Doctor—we were just talking to Dr. Wecht—but, Dr. Blake, how long do you think someone could sustain themselves with that high level of carbon monoxide, even if they had some breathing devices? 

BLAKE:  Well, the breathing devices would help keep them from taking in the carbon monoxide.  So, when that runs out, then they would start breathing the carbon monoxide.  And I would agree with the other physician that it would take about an hour or two. 

COSBY:  Dr. Robert Blake, thank you very much.  Another doctor at his hospital treating the miners, the lucky ones, who did get out.  And, as we just heard from Dr. Blake, they had minor injuries. 

Again, if you‘re just joining us, some headlines coming here right in front of Sago mine in West Virginia.  Some grim news tonight.  News, we‘re, of course, we would not hear. 

And the news is that one body has been located.  We‘re told that it is 11,000 feet in from the portal.  That‘s the main opening.  You‘re looking right now at a live picture.  This is a processing center.  But about half a mile away is the actual opening of the mine.  But it was literally 11,000 feet in. 

They said that they have not identified that person yet, and that they did find high levels of carbon monoxide.  And, in fact, they‘re trying to establish the ventilation system.  And we‘re told that, within two hours to four hours, they can probably try to ventilate it out so now the rescue crews could go in.

The good news is that there was a bus.  These guys go in on bus in the rail cars, when they‘re physically going in.  And when they went in on the rail bus, apparently they located that bus and they saw nobody in it.  It looks like they were able to escape on their own, which is very good news, at least giving just that slight glimmer of hope.  Of course, it doesn‘t look good knowing that there was this high levels of carbon monoxide.

But now, joining us right here, is someone who is with the fire department.  Tell us what your role—tell us your name, sir? 

JOE TALLMAN, WORKS FOR LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT:  My name is Joe Tallman.  I‘m the fire chief (INAUDIBLE) Tallmansville, West Virginia.  The mine is in my district.  We were the first (INAUDIBLE) on that mine. 

COSBY:  What does it look like when you got there? 

TALLMAN:  Some smoke, not much smoke, just some fumes coming out of the mine.  We were not allowed to go near the mine due to the fact that we‘re not trained to enter the mine.  Once we determined that there were people inside, the mining company already notified the mine rescue teams to be on their way. 

We are not allowed at that time to do anything else other than to stand by and get everything else ready, which means we set up a command center, we notified all available agencies as to what we were going to need, other fire departments, EMS squads.  We put out a red alert, which means they called in extra divers, extra (INAUDIBLE) et cetera.

COSBY:  You said fumes.  Describe a little bit about what it looked like initially? 

TALLMAN:  Not much at all.  It wasn‘t much.  Early in the morning, damp as it was, you get mine fumes, or what we call “fumes” is basically just—it‘s steam coming out of the mine.  That‘s what it looked like us to.  And you get that on a cold morning.  As far as smoke, we never did see any smoke coming out of the mine. 

COSBY:  Did you see the other miners get out? 

TALLMAN:  No.  They were already out when we got there. 

COSBY:  They were already out? 

TALLMAN:  Yes...


COSBY:  How soon did the rescue crews come in? 

TALLMAN:  They started coming in there at 9:00, 9:30 in the morning.  And they have policies that they follow, which means that they can‘t go in until they have a complete crew and a rescue crew backup crew behind those.  So it was long, well in the afternoon, before all of those crews and their equipment arrived on the site. 

COSBY:  I don‘t know if you‘ve heard the grim news, but we just got word...

TALLMAN:  Yes, ma‘am. 

COSBY:  ... that one body—when were you told that?  When was your department told that?

TALLMAN:  Probably 15 or 20 minutes ago.  We are at the intersection.  And we don‘t usually get involved with the debriefings, because of the families and the press is there.  As a fire department, we‘re back doing the oddball stuff.   And so one of the guys came and told me that they had found a body.  And they were still, at this time, searching for the rest of them. 

COSBY:  And what‘s your view here in this community?  You see this—

I can tell you, I‘ve just been heartbroken.  We just talked to, you know, one of the loved ones.  And his father—he‘s awaiting word on his father.

TALLMAN:  Right.  Exactly.  One of my firefighters is a miner at that mine.  And he was not at work that day due to the fact he works a weekend shift.  New Year‘s Day, he wasn‘t at work, or he would have been at the face. 

I understand that there was 30 miners going in.  Fifteen got in.  Fifteen more were 10 minutes behind them.  And that‘s why these 15 got out, or there would have been 30 people inside. 

But other than that, the community has been well behind us on this.  Everybody has donated their time, materials, food, all that.  And we‘re so pleased that the community has come behind the volunteers like they have. 

COSBY:  Absolutely.  Well, our prayers are with you.  And thank you so much.  I know you‘ve had a busy day. 

TALLMAN:  Thank you.  I appreciate that.

COSBY:  We appreciate you behind here on this breaking news, sir, thank you.

TALLMAN:  Thank you, ma‘am.  OK.

COSBY:  Of course, as you heard, firefighters here, rescue crews, Red Cross.  Everybody‘s been involved in this effort.  Joining us right now is Bruce Dial.  He‘s a mine safety analyst.

Bruce, what do you make of what you‘ve heard, the new news coming from the news conference?  Did you hear the news conference, Bruce? 


COSBY:  Yes, what do you make of the fate now of the 12 missing? 

What‘s your assessment of sort of the prognosis? 

DIAL:  Well, it was a good sign that they found the bus that they were riding on, that it wasn‘t torn up or burnt, or it was still on the track.  So that means that they rode the bus up to that point and then got off and walked from there, which gives them a chance to walk over to one of the other drifts, openings that might have better ventilation. 

COSBY:  What is the possibility, Mr. Dial, from your experience, that there could be some survivors? 

DIAL:  Well, if these people that left the bus and were able to walk over into one of the other drifts, and they got into an area where the ventilation hadn‘t been disturbed or had rerouted itself so they could get air, oxygen, and movement of air to get rid of the gases, they would have a good chance of surviving. 

COSBY:  How long could they survive in those kinds of conditions?  Is it possible, you know, as we saw in Pennsylvania, that was a different case.  It was water that was coming in.  But we‘ve heard of miracles before, right? 

DIAL:  That‘s right.  If they got to an area where they did have oxygen and movement of air to keep the gases out and barricaded their self in, they could survive for several days in there on what food and water they have and the lights and things like that. 

COSBY:  Mr. Dial, thank you very much.  We appreciate your assessment.  And let‘s pray that you‘re right, that those guys did find that pocket of air and are holding out hope now.  And rescue crews, I know, are determined to still go in.  They plan to go back in, in a matter of hours. 

Let me bring in, if I could, Robert Hager.  He‘s, of course, an NBC analyst.  Bob, what do you make of the prognosis now for the 12 missing?  Is there a possibility that they may be—maybe they‘re just lucky at heck and found that right pocket? 

ROBERT HAGER, NBC NEWS ANALYST:  Well, you have to hold out hope.  And we can‘t lose sight of the main drift of the story at this point, which is still that we‘re looking at a very, very grim, bleak situation here.  We‘re looking at very long odds that any one of the trapped miners got out of that mine alive. 

But I did want to review what we learned from that briefing here and try to put it into a little simpler graphic and map of the mine that Mr.  Hatfield had.  But here you have—this would be the main—you‘re looking down on the mine at this point.  This is an overhead view of the mine. 

And here you have this main shaft going back some two miles into the mountain.  These chutes coming off.  And they call them one-left, two-left, and so on.  And it‘s a little more complex than that.  There are more tunnels than that, but this is enough to show. 

The explosion, they believe, was about two-left, so right around here.  And it‘s just—so let‘s say the explosion is there.  Just beyond the explosion, they find the body of the one miner.  Beyond that, they find the cart in which the other 12 miners were presumably riding, going this direction at the time of the explosion, but no sign of what happened to those 12 miners.  No bodies, no sign of what happened to them. 

So the question is—the shred of hope is that they—for one thing, finding the cart empty is, indeed, a good sign, because it means they must have survived the initial explosion.  So they had some time. 

Now, were they able to don their breathing equipment, work their way up this way, and find some other shaft to get in where they could find a little pocket with some fresh air and survive there somehow by erecting a barricades that would keep out the very poisonous carbon monoxide that spread quickly through the mine? 

But what officials are still puzzled by is if they, indeed, survived the explosion, these other 12 that were in this cart, why couldn‘t they have put on their breathing equipment and made their way, since they don‘t see a lot of debris here, not a lot of signs of a blockage of the tunnel, why couldn‘t they have put their breathing apparatus on and made their way back out the mine?

Presumably, that breathing apparatus would have given them time enough to do that.  So there‘s some other explanation.  It may be simply that the levels of the gas were too high or that shred of hope that they did make their way up the other bay and somehow found a safe haven up there and they might still be rescued. 

But, again, not to lose sight of the main story here.  All this is very long odds.  I mean, what you‘ve got are these 13 miners who were in there, and 12 of them may have survived the explosion.  But now it‘s been a day and a half since, in levels of carbon monoxide that are way beyond deadly, three times more than a lethal dose.  So that‘s why we‘re looking at such long, long odds here. 

COSBY:  Bob, if you can stick with us, I understand we just got some sound from Governor Joe Manchin, obviously coming out with this news.  We saw him a few hours ago and, of course, was predicting that, unfortunately, there might be some deaths, just knowing just the odds were so slim. 

This is the governor just reacting to the word, the breaking news that we just heard, of course, at the top of the show that now one body has been located.  Here‘s the governor of West Virginia. 


GOV. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA:  Come on, guys.  Listen, unfortunately, we found one body.  But yet, we have found the tram, and we‘re still in full rescue mode, looking for the 12 miners.  There‘s 12 miners that we‘re still trying to locate.

And we know that the tram they would have rode in on was intact.  There was no damage to that at all.  And so we‘re in search right now of those 12.  And the crews are doing everything humanly possible. 

So, unfortunately, we did—we have one fatality that‘s been confirmed.  And our hopes, and as I tell you so many times, we still believe in those miracles, and we‘re still hanging onto this miracle.  And we‘re hoping for the best. 


COSBY:  And, again, that was the governor, Governor Joe Manchin, just reacting to the word that now one body has been found. 

Our NBC analyst, Robert Hager, you know, we talked about this safe haven.  Let‘s talk about just that slim shred of hope, because we know that they‘re still going to go in.  They‘ve got to go in and just pray that maybe somebody might have survived that slim chance. 

Walk us through.  If they did go—obviously, we know that they weren‘t able to exit through the main portal, going in, you know, beyond 11,000 or 12,000 feet.  So, if they did go up, that other scenario that you were talking about, Bob, how difficult is that now, from a rescue operation, to at least try to go through that area? 

HAGER:  I think they‘re still encountering very high levels of gas back there, so they‘ve got to work their way very carefully.  And how they do that—I‘ll throw up the little map again. 

But I‘m imagining that some of this area is gridded with smaller tunnels.  And so the hope would be they‘re up one of these smaller tunnels and found a little pocket there. 

Through there, at the various intersections, there may be curtains, they call them, ways to block the flow of air that are used for the normal circulation of air to try to keep fresh air here.  And they do that by breaking off the air at various points at some of those intersections with the curtains. 

So as these, the teams, go up, they‘ve got to reset these curtains to make sure that the fresh air follows the rescue team as they get up here, because you don‘t want to lose more people from the rescue team by poison gas. 

And so they‘ve got to be sure that fresh air stays with these rescuers.  They can work a little ahead of the fresh air because they do have breathing apparatus, but not far ahead of the fresh air.  And so that‘s why it‘s tedious work. 

And then, if this is indeed a grid of tunnels, that would take a lot of time to go through.  So that‘s why it‘s a difficult job and a matter some of hours. 

But also, I‘m thinking, if they‘re that far along, that we should be hearing something later on tonight. 

COSBY:  Yes, they definitely seem give us a sense that we will probably know in the next few hours.  You know, Bob, walk us through a little bit.  You‘ve been inside of mines.  It‘s this portal man bus.  It‘s sort of like a rail car that goes through, because it‘s very shallow.  It‘s very low there, right, at that part of the mine? 

HAGER:  It should be.  And different mines have it set up different ways.  But normally, as you get up towards the face of the mine, that little tram he‘s talking about, or cart or whatever you want to call it, sometimes it runs along tracks.  Normally, it would run along a track that is set there.  And sometimes the men even have to lie down in it, because there‘s not much room.  And it gets them up towards the face of the mine where they use big equipment, like what you‘re looking at there now, which, although it‘s a huge piece of equipment, it fits in, as you can see there, a very—it doesn‘t take much space. 

So the ceiling is not high there.  So to move about in it, you‘ve got to crouch.  You‘ve only got three or four feet to move in, so it‘s very difficult to move in.  And if you were trying to go fast in an emergency situation like this, it‘d be brutal. 

COSBY:  Bob, how far apart are they typically working when they‘re underground?  One of the things we learned from the presser is that this body was 700 feet from that bus, from that portal man bus.  We do know that the guys were on the bus.  They walked off.  When they‘re underground, are they walking—are they working far apart, even when they‘re in teams? 

HAGER:  Yes, sometimes they do.  And I think that first man—they said he was by the loader, so that would be a conveyor belt that takes the coal, the new coal that they‘ve mined, that takes it out.  So he may have gotten off the cart to work by that loader.  And then the cart is going ahead with the others to take them up to the face, or what you think of as the end of the mine, the place where they‘re working up against the wall of coal.  But frequently, they do work far apart, yes.  That‘s not unusual. 

COSBY:  Al right, Bob Hager.  Thank you very much.  I want to bring in, if I could, Dr. Robin Murphy.  She‘s a robotic analyst and an expert in that field from the University of South Florida. 

Robin, I know that they‘ve looked, they‘ve started to use a robot here today.  What can a robot do that a human searcher can‘t? 

DR. ROBIN MURPHY, CENTER FOR ROBOT-ASSISTED SEARCH AND RESCUE:  Well, robots can be the eyes, the ears, the nose of people without people being there.  So they‘re using these robots to go in front of the rescue workers or try to get in to places where it‘s clearly unsafe, either because you have to carry around those air packs to protect yourself from asphyxiation, or because you‘re scared of striking a spark and causing explosions or getting caught in a roof collapse. 

COSBY:  And what happened in this case, Robin?  Why didn‘t it work? 

Because it went, what, 70 feet in, that was it? 

MURPHY:  Well, from what we‘ve heard about the robot, it‘s one of the largest styles of bomb squad robots.  And it‘s been outfitted to suppress any kind of explosion.  So it makes it a large, sort of a sumo robot. 

And so it‘s slow.  It only moves about two miles an hour.  It‘s very solid.  It‘s not going to cause an explosion.

But the downside is, what you trade off for that safety, is you lose some of your mobility.  And mobility is very difficult in these situations.  How many mine collapses do you have?  How many disasters?  So the engineers don‘t know how to design exactly for each case.  We just don‘t have the knowledge. 

It‘s not like NASA, where you‘ve studied Mars for years and years and you‘ve got a good educated guess about how big the rocks are.  When we were at the La Conchita mudslides, two minutes into it, while running a robot, it failed because of similar reasons.  The mobility, the mud just caused it to clog up and go. 

COSBY:  You know, Robin, as we‘re looking at some pictures, we‘re looking at a picture of the robot, and we got a pretty good description from Bob Hager, who‘s been inside a lot of these mines, how deep, how dark, how difficult is it, and just difficult territory? 

I‘ll tell you, you know, the more I hear about mining, these men are real heroes, these guys who go in these mines every day.  It‘s just such treacherous, dangerous work. 

MURPHY:  It absolutely is.  And that‘s one of the things that they‘ve always—we‘ve always looked at using robots for, things that are dirty, dangerous and dull.  And this is very—again, it‘s very hard to do this effectively.  The technology has improved dramatically in the past 10 years.  And we hope to continue to help the manufacturing and the mining groups be able to work more effectively. 

COSBY:  All right, Robin, thank you very much.  We appreciate you being with us. 

And joining us now is NBC correspondent Tom Costello, who has, of course, handled a lot of these type of things.  Tom, you know, first off, grim news.  You know, I‘ve got to talk about one body being found.  Were you in the press conference? 

TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  I was standing out here listening to it and going live on NBC Network News for the West Coast.  But it is absolutely the worst possible news.  I‘ve been here since about three, four hours after the explosion, five hours after the explosion.  They really have not held out hope in their heart of hearts. 

COSBY:  It seems like from the beginning they knew the chances were slim.

COSTELLO:  They were so worried about this, because this was not a repeat of the situation in Pennsylvania 3 ½ years ago where it was water and they could find an air pocket.  The trouble is—and we all continue to hope that maybe there is an air pocket.

But an explosion is different.  It robs the cavity of oxygen.  It immediately deprives it.  And that becomes a very, very challenging type of environment to overcome. 

COSBY:  Let‘s talk about the history of the mine.  This one received a lost of citations, in fact, just recently. 

COSTELLO:  In fact, in 2004, the injury rate at this particular mine was more than double the national average for a mine of this size. 

COSBY:  Serious infractions? 

COSTELLO:  Some of them were serious.  And then, in the last three federal inspection, they‘ve had 180 different citations for problems, some of them serious, as well.  However, the mine was just sold at the end of November to this new company, International Coal Group.  You‘ve seen the CEO and the senior vice presidents, a lot of talking...

COSBY:  The ones who have been doing the press conferences, yes. 

COSTELLO:  They seem to be very forthcoming.  And they seem to be in agony over this.  That‘s just my read, as the guy who‘s been here for a day and a half. 

COSBY:  No, you can tell, they‘re visibly moved. 

COSTELLO:  I think they are.  Clearly, we‘ve put a lot of questions to them about the safety of this mine and about whether these issues that federal investigators had brought up to them had been addressed.  They say that some of them had been addressed.  They‘re working on these issues.  They‘ve only owned the mine for 30 days or so, but they say that their focus right now is, in fact, on getting this, or any survivors, out. 

But you can imagine that federal and state investigators will be all over this particular mine and, quite frankly, probably all over the mines that not only International Coal Group owns but the previous owner owned, as well. 

COSBY:  You bet.  Tom Costello, thank you very much.  Keep us posted.  We appreciate you being here.  I know it‘s been a busy night for (INAUDIBLE) we appreciate it.

Of course, there‘s a lot of folks who have been helping out on the scene.  We talked to a firefighter, one of the fire chiefs, earlier on.  But we also have with us folks from the Red Cross. 

And you guys have been working your hearts out.  We‘ve got Jana Zehner with the Red Cross and also Michelle Brady.  You‘re a local representative with the Red Cross.  I don‘t know—I‘m sure you‘ve heard the news. 


COSBY:  What‘s your reaction, first of all?  It must be so tough. 

You‘ve been talking to the family members? 

BRADY:  Yes.

COSBY:  How are they doing? 

BRADY:  As well to be expected. 

COSBY:  Were they—I‘m sure, were they stunned? 

BRADY:  Yes.  You want to...

JANA ZEHNER, AMERICAN RED CROSS:  It‘s a situation where, at this point, because they don‘t know who specifically they‘ve found, so it‘s really tough for the families, because they‘re still grieving, they‘re still agonizing and wondering what‘s happened, what the next word is going to be.  We just don‘t have all the answers yet.  And so we‘re continuing the mental health counseling and doing everything we can to make them as comfortable as possible while they still wait. 

COSBY:  Yes, what do you say to these folks?  I mean, you know, talk about courageous folks, hanging in there.  Now it‘s been, you know, we‘re talking about almost 40 hours and getting word of one body.  It must be even more anguishing, just this trickling of information to them? 

ZEHNER:  Absolutely.  It‘s coming in bit by bit.  And this is a very tight-knit community.  You know, Michelle is one of the volunteer firefighters.  She‘s been here.  She‘s part of this community.  And still, when they feel their friends and family suffering, they know people are affected, these volunteers are still showing up here to help out and doing everything they can. 

COSBY:  Yes, what have you been doing?  I can tell you, I saw you giving a lot of hugs. 

BRADY:  Yes.

COSBY:  And that almost means more than anything you can do at this point.

BRADY:  Yes.  I‘ve been giving lots of hugs and just the moral support.  We‘re there.  You know, we‘re there for everybody.  We‘re just one great, big family. 

COSBY:  How has this affected the community, and especially now with this tragic news? 

BRADY:  The community been really well, giving, coming, you know, together. 

COSBY:  Seems like there‘s a lot of support.  I‘ll tell you, the one thing that has been incredibly inspirational, tons of volunteers. 

BRADY:  Right, yes. 

COSBY:  Lots of folks dedicating—and I know some folks have been here for, what, 18, 20 hours, working around the clock, right? 

BRADY:  Yes, yes. 

COSBY:  What kinds of things have been doing for the folks? 

BRADY:  I have been here since 8:00 yesterday morning. 

COSBY:  Yesterday morning? 

BRADY:  Yes.  I‘ve just been doing just anything that they need me to do, I‘m there to do. 

COSBY:  How has this touched you personally? 

BRADY:  I‘m a coal miner‘s daughter.  And luckily, you know—you want to...

ZEHNER:  I know it‘s hard, when it‘s your family and your friends.  It‘s really a tough situation.  Just that our volunteers have really been fantastic. 

I‘m not from this area, so I came up today and saw this community just pull together in an amazing way.  And it shows why we need these local Red Cross volunteers in each community.  And each community needs to be prepared, because you never know what could happen in your own area. 

COSBY:  What do you say to the moms, and dads, and brothers, and sisters who are watching right now and praying that there are 12 healthy, alive coal miners out there, hiding somewhere in some small pocket? 

ZEHNER:  Oh, our hearts go out to them.  It‘s just—it‘s such a difficult thing to watch these families, you know, suffer and hurt and are fearing for their loved ones.  And so our thoughts are with them every minute that they go through this.  And we‘re going to be here to help them recover long term, as they get their community back together. 

COSBY:  Again, keep up the great work, both of you.  Thank you so much. 

ZEHNER:  Thank you. 

COSBY:  And I know how much families appreciate and have been leaning on you.  And we‘ll be here with you guys for, you know, from—the next few days, whatever it takes.  Thank you very much, both of you.  Keep up the great work. 

ZEHNER:  Thank you.

COSBY:  And our prayers are with you and your community, too. 

ZEHNER:  Thank you. 

COSBY:  You know, a lot of people here, you can just tell, are just heartbroken by the news. 

Again, if you‘re just tuning in, just to recap the tragic news that we got at the top of the hour, one body has been located.  It‘s been located more than 11,000 feet from the portal.  That‘s the entrance to the mine.  That‘s where, in fact, the governor was telling us a few hours ago that he expected that they would at least be able to get some answers to what happened. 

Right now, one body has been found.  Nobody has been identified.  There‘s no identification on that body at this point.  They are still saying that 12 people are missing.  The good news is, the van, the sort of rail car that they were going in, it looks like they were traveling in it but were able to get out of it healthy enough to get out of the rail car. 

They still have not located the other 12 miners, but, of course, we‘re praying that there may be some survivors.  We will, of course, keep you posted.  We will be wall-to-wall here with our continuing coverage, which continues right now.  Joe Scarborough starts now.


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