Rescue Crews Find One Body in West Virginia Mine Rescue crews find one body late Tuesday in a West Virginia mine where 13 miners were trapped after an explosion Monday morning. The body has not been identified, and there was no word on the other 12 men. Rescue efforts continue.

Rescue Crews Find One Body in West Virginia Mine

Rescue Crews Find One Body in West Virginia Mine

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Rescue crews find one body late Tuesday in a West Virginia mine where 13 miners were trapped after an explosion Monday morning. The body has not been identified, and there was no word on the other 12 men. Rescue efforts continue.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

Grim news for families awaiting news about the fate of 13 miners trapped after an explosion in a West Virginia mine. Rescue workers found one body late this evening. That body has not been identified, but family members and friends holding a vigil at the Sago Baptist Church just across the road from the mine have been told of this news. NPR's Frank Langfitt joins us now. He's on the scene.

Frank, where was this body found?

FRANK LANGFITT reporting:

It was found, Michele, deep in the mine. They haven't said exactly where. But they had already gone in about 11 or 12,000 feet horizontally. You know, this is a drift mine. And they found it, I think, towards the end of the section that they were--where the rescue workers were working. They did not identify the body yet. They said in the next hour and a half they probably would be able to do so.

NORRIS: And the...

LANGFITT: The effect on family members, though, was very striking because many people, of course, are anxious, wondering, you know, `Is this my son? Is this my father?'

NORRIS: Now the wires are reporting that the body was found inside a mine car that was undamaged. Is there any word or any clues about the fate of the 12 other miners?

LANGFITT: Well, it's been mostly a gloomy day because of high carbon monoxide levels that have been found in the mine that suggest that at least one section of the mine was uninhabitable because of the toxic gas. But today, late this evening, Governor Manchin came out, the governor of West Virginia, and he struck a much more optimistic tone than we've heard all day. And he said the fact that the car was undamaged and the fact that it looked the men had escaped the car, taken their lunch box and helmets, sort of gave him the impression, I guess, gave mine officials the impression that they may have been able to, you know, survive the blast and may have tried to move to some part of the mine where there's enough air for them to survive for some time. So really the tone kind of--now it's about 9:30 here on the East Coast. The tone really changed just a few moments ago.

NORRIS: Earlier in the day, the rescue crews were saying that they had stepped up their efforts; they were taking sort of a more aggressive tack to get to some of those miners. What's going on right now?

LANGFITT: Well, my understanding and what the governor was just saying is that they're--they've gone through quite a bit of the mine, at least the section where they thought the workers are, and what they're saying is they're going to go through this entire mine and, you know, take as long as it takes to find where these miners are and whether some may have survived or not. So it's hard to say right now how long this will continue, but they seem, you know, very determined to check out the entire mine and find these miners.

NORRIS: Frank, it sounds like this is really painstaking work.

LANGFITT: I think it is. My understanding is that they've been moving particularly slowly, in part because they're very concerned about the carbon monoxide, not getting--making sure that the rescue workers don't get caught in pockets of carbon monoxide that could, you know, eventually kill them. They're also concerned about buildups of methane gas. They don't want to get in there and have a spark and have more people, you know, potentially, you know, injured or killed while trying to save people in the mine.

NORRIS: Family members, friends, co-workers have been gathering, as we said, just across the road at the Sago Baptist Church. Have you had a chance to check in there with this latest news about the discovery of this one body?

LANGFITT: Yes, many of the family members were walking out just moments ago, and they were really distraught. And I think part of it was the anxiety of not knowing who it was. Apparently also when the governor spoke to them and gave them this news, several people inside the church fainted. So, you know, this has been a very difficult vigil for everybody here in this community.

NORRIS: Frank Langfitt, speaking to us from Tallmansville, West Virginia.

Frank, thanks so much for this update.

LANGFITT: Happy to do it, Michele.

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