According to various local news outlets, waters rose from local flooding and trapped the workers at Alpha Natural Resources’ Mountaineer Alma A mine in Mingo County during the early morning hours of Saturday. They were closing out their shift and heading for the surface when the situation was discovered.
US Mine Safety and Health Administration spokesperson Amy Louviere told the State Journal that all the workers were rescued at about 6am Sunday local time and appeared to be unharmed.
The identities of the miners have not been released, but MSHA did confirm the group was moved to a safer section of the mine on Saturday and that pumps were used to clear the water from the mine.
Additionally, state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training director Ron Wooten told the Charleston Gazette the mine had not had any previous issues with excess water.
“The water just came cascading in through the drift mouth, which is on a slope,” he said, adding that it had accumulated in a low spot and actually reached the roof at one point.
Mine rescue teams were on call to assist with the situation, Wooten noted, and federal inspectors were onsite during the incident.
The state and federal spokespersons did not indicate the condition of the mine now or if any equipment was damaged.