- Three people who had been missing in an abandoned West Virginia mine since Saturday were rescued Wednesday night.
- Local news videos showed the three covered in dirt, but in apparently good condition.
- Officials and relatives say the group went into the mine to steal copper wire.
Three West Virginia families got their missing loved ones back Wednesday night, when a group that went missing over the weekend in an abandoned mine were rescued.
News cameras were rolling as 21-year-old Cody Beverly, 25-year-old Kayla Williams, and 31-year-old Erica Treadway reunited with their families.
The three friends were covered in dirt but looked otherwise healthy and happy to be above ground.
“We got our Christmas miracle,” Williams’ aunt, Sandra Scarbro, told the Register-Herald.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice was on the scene for the happy reunions and also called it a “Christmas blessing.”
Kayla and Cody spoke at the scene to reporters, thanking their families and everyone who aided in the search effort.
“I just want to say thanks to everyone who searched for us while we was down in that mine,” Cody said, according to ABC News New York.
“All the effort everybody put in to getting us out, we really appreciate it and we thank God,” Kayla added.
The group disappeared on Saturday, along with a fourth friend, 43-year-old Eddie Williams.
Officials and relatives said the group trespassed into the Rock House Powellton Mine near Clear Creek Saturday night to steal lucrative copper wire. The mine shut down operations about two years ago.
Eddie Williams managed to make it out of the mine by himself on Monday and started helping search teams in the effort to locate the other three.
It’s unclear how he was able to escape, but Ross Williams, Beverly’s stepfather, told the West Virginia Gazette-Mail that Eddie was an experienced coal miner. The other three had never been in a mine before.
Teams searched the mine overnight Tuesday, but ran out of oxygen and had to temporarily call off the rescue mission.
After pumping water out of the mine and filling it with more oxygen, they returned on Wednesday, when they located the first person around 6 p.m. – about 4,000 feet from where the group first entered the mine.
Half an hour later, they located the other two another 1,000 feet away, ABC News reported.
While stuck down in the mine, Kayla and Cody said they knew there would be a happy ending.
“We knew that our families were searching for us,” Cody said.
“We have great families. We knew they was going to find us,” Kayla added.
Since they trespassed on the mine, the four could be potentially charged.
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