CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) New details emerged Wednesday in the mine rescue effort that saved the lives of three people.
During a ceremony in Charleston, Gov. Jim Justice honored the rescue team from the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training that helped bring Kayla Williams, Erica Treadway, and Cody Beverly to safety.
“A lot of times, when emotions are really high, sometimes even our first responders don’t get the love and appreciation they deserve.”
At the same time, the Governor defended the decision to go in after them.
“These people, maybe they weren’t the pillars of society. Maybe they are. What does that have to do with anything? At the end of the day, our fellow man was in there and that’s what we’re supposed to do.”
After the press conference, rescuer Stephan Evans described the high-pressure search that led to the missing three. “Some guys had to go in with really low air, Kevin being one of them. I was worried for them…worried something could happen.”
Evans was among the rescuers who first found Erica Treadway alive. She directed the teams to Beverely and Williams.
“One of Contour’s men saw red in one of the holes. We shined a light and she came forward. She told us where the other two were and we got them.”
While last week’s search and rescue mission was a success, Evans offered a word of warning to the next person who decides to trespass in an abandoned mine.
“From what I understand, you just go to sleep. You don’t feel nothing. You go to sleep….and you never wake up.”