Coal miners rescued

NINE coal miners were rescued Sunday July 28 from an underground coal mine in Pennsylvania after being trapped in a chamber after they broke into a nearby abandoned mine filled with frigid water.

Staff Reporter

Associated Press reported that the desperate rescue operation that included more than 150 workers, tons of heavy equipment and 18 medical helicopters reached the miners on Sunday morning. One by one they were then pulled up a narrow shaft in a cylindrical capsule.

The miners became trapped about 9 p.m. Wednesday, when they inadvertently broke into an abandoned, water-filled mine that maps showed to be 300 feet away. Over 189 million litres of water was released into the shaft where they were working.

Drilling a rescue shaft to the men, who ranged in age from early 30s through early 50s, couldn't begin until more than 20 hours after the accident, when a drill rig arrived from West Virginia. Drilling was halted early Friday morning because a 1,500-pound drill bit broke after hitting hard rock about 100 feet down, delaying the effort by 18 hours.

The Quecreek mine, 88km southeast of Pittsburgh, was opened in 2002 by Black Wolf Coal and employs about 60 miners. It has not had safety problems in the past.