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Miners rescued from Kentucky mine

There is good news tonight for the families of three miners in southern Kentucky.

Fourteen hours after they were trapped, three Kentucky miners were rescued. They became trapped after floodwaters blocked their way out early this morning. 27 SKYFIRST captured video today above the Jellico #1 Mine in Bell County, near Middlesboro. The men were at the end of their shift when they became trapped 600-feet from the mine entrance.

Miners Parnell Witherspoon, Doug Warren, and Russell Asher went straight from the coal mine to the church down the road where families were eagerly waiting.

Heather Kohlhepp, a friend of Witherspoon, watched the rescue from the fence surrounding the coal mine. She says she's known Whiterspoon for almost 30 years.

"I was just scared to death. I'm glad they're alive, and they're safe and sound."

Kohlhepp also said officials told her if the mine flooded earlier, up to 30 miners could have been trapped.

A spokesperson for James River Coal Company, C.K. Lane, said the three men were in good condition and were able to walk out of the mine on their own.

The three men, all experienced miners, had been stuck since 6:30 Monday morning. A state investigator says rain filled up a ditch inside the mine's main entrance and trapped them. A crew of close to 50 people worked non-stop, pumping water out of the 6-foot-high ditch to make the space passable.

The chief investigator tells us this mine will be shut down for quite some time. State investigators will look into ways flooding can be prevented at that Bell County mine in the future.


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