Three people lost in a nonoperational West Virginia coal mine have been found alive, authorities said Wednesday evening.
The state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training said in a statement that 25-year-old Kayla Williams, 31-year-old Erica Treadway and 21-year-old Cody Beverly were located inside Elk Run Coal’s Rock House Powellton mine near Clear Creek, approximately 50 miles southeast of Charleston.
The statement said crews have been working to bring the three to the surface for transportation to a local hospital. There was no indication of their conditions.
The group had been missing since early Saturday along with a fourth person, 43-year-old Eddie Williams. Investigators previously said an abandoned ATV the four were believed to have been riding was found near the mine entrance.
The state’s mine safety office said the mine had not been operational for two years. Rescuers used fans to move fresh air into the mine while pumps were used to clear standing water inside, but the water levels remained too high and hampered search efforts.
On Sunday evening, Gov. Jim Justice urged would-be mine explorers to “STOP entering the abandoned mines.”
“This is extremely irresponsible behavior that puts our first responders and mine safety crews in unsafe situations when they should be focused on ensuring safety at active mines,” Justice said. “I cannot stress enough how dangerous these abandoned mines are and how hazardous they are to humans.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Eddie Williams walked out of the mine Monday evening. It was not immediately clear whether he was related to Kayla Williams.