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Freed Miners Give News Conference

Aired July 29, 2002 - 13:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: In Pennsylvania, investigators plan to inspect that flooded mine in search of answers now. Yesterday, the prayers of a nation were answered when nine trapped miners were pulled from the chamber alive. This hour, three of the miners will share their stories.

Before they do, let's check in with CNN's Bill Hemmer, with the latest now from Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

I'll tell you what, we're on pins and needles waiting for that news conference -- Bill.


Yes, we do anticipate that any moment. To our viewers, we'll certainly tap right into that hospital briefing in Johnstown, which is up the road, Kyra, about 25 miles from our location here in Somerset County. Tom Foy, John Unger, Randy Fogle still hospitalized.

We heard several hours ago that at least two of the three might be released today. There's nothing official on that, but that's the word trickling through here, and it's quite possible that's a strong possibility that at least two of the three will be released today.

And, Kyra, I mean, to be frank with you, if you think about it, you know, this is just 36 hours after they were pulled out of that hole. And the other six were simply treated and released yesterday. No food and no water for 77 hours, and just a minor hospitalization and checkup for two-thirds of this group here.

Nonetheless, though, we will track that and let you know what they have to say. We do anticipate the stories to be quite riveting.

Again, the doctors earlier today said they were in good condition. They were adjusting well. They need some sleep, and in fact, the doctors indicated that of the three who were sleeping earlier today all had to be awoken by hospital personnel this morning to get them out of bed.

They say the miners survived, because they made smart decisions, smart decisions at just about every turn, and on top of that, they are so physically tough as well. When you put the brain with the brawn, you get the incredible ending here.

You know, somebody said it's a good story, but it's a great ending, and indeed, that is the case.

Privacy is a concern right now. A lot of the family members trying to get some private time with the nine men trapped below, and even those who are still in the hospital, we are told, the family members had spent the night there, and they will not leave their side.

And when that happens, we will certainly bring it to you.

Let's go back to yesterday, though. Blaine Mayhugh was one man who did stop and talk with reporters, and he told some very chilling tales, especially one where he said he was at his lowest point and decided to grab a pen, or at least ask for one anyway, and write a final note to his wife and family -- here is Blaine Mayhugh from yesterday.


BLAINE MAYHUGH, RESCUED MINER: It was Thursday around 12:00 noon, and the water started rising, and we was running out of room. So I asked the boss if he had a pen, and he knew what for. I said, well, I want to write my wife and kids, you know, to tell them I love them and, you know.


HEMMER: And the Mayhughs, through a family spokesperson we talked to earlier today, say they have heard from people all over the world, Kyra, California and England and Australia, not reporters, but just people who heard their story and wanted to let them know that they were pulling for them and thinking for them -- thinking for them throughout this ordeal.

Quickly, take you back to the briefing earlier this morning about 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, which was about four hours ago. The doctors came out and gave us the very latest. Listen to how some of the doctors talked about what kept these guys so strong 240 feet below the earth.


DR. RUSSELL DUMIRE, CONEMAUGH MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: To see these guys, who had to crawl into that cage by themselves, shut that huge steel door, come up 250 feet and then come out on their own power, that, to me, is just a testament of pure human will. I mean, you know, as physicians, we can put things back together and we can rearrange things the way that they were supposed to be, but we can't heal the patients. That comes from inside, and these guys have the will to live, and they made our job extremely easy. I mean, they did the work. We just, you know, made the environment right for them.


HEMMER: And again, a great ending here to a wonderful story in Pennsylvania. We will hear more.

We are also going to hear more throughout the day, Kyra, about this investigation and where it goes from here. How was this able to happen when the miners were told, thought they were 300 feet away from an old mine that had not been in use since the 1950s, when indeed they were right next to it, indeed punctured that old mine and allowed all of that water to come through, water that almost cost them their lives?

Going forward now, this Pennsylvania law, Kyra, that says no miner can drill within 200 feet of an old mine, well, that was breached here, and there has to be a reason for it, and that's part of the investigation. They will get to the very bottom of that in time.

But for now, it is smiles and hugs and handshakes once again in Pennsylvania.

Somebody said it great earlier today, you know, it was a good story, but it had a great ending, and indeed, it did.

We are standing by here for more from the hospital -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Bill, as we wait for the hospital news conference, you mentioned back from the 1950s, I heard on NPR this morning, I don't know if you have been able to confirm this or not, that the maps that they had were from the 1950s. Have you heard that?

HEMMER: Yes. Well, yes, we do know they were decades old. That's how it was described to us. I can't put a year on it, to be frank with you, because I don't know. But that's going to be part of this investigation, too. You know, what kind of maps were they using, and what did they know at the time?

The other thing that I think is quite apparent, to me anyway, is that all the people who know this territory, Kyra, they knew the territory subterranean. Based on the maps they had, they were able -- you know, you might call it a very good educated guess here, but they were able to pinpoint where they should be drilling. So they had a pretty firm idea as to where they thought these miners were, and able to get the water pumps down there, get that 6-inch pipe down there to punch in that compressed air, make sure they were staying warm and make sure they have oxygen.

So they knew quite a bit of what was going down below the surface, but what we found out late Wednesday night from last week is that they did not know everything. And again, that's where the investigation will hinge.

PHILLIPS: Bill, just moments ago, I am told we have this sound now. We can turn around. Hold tight with us.


PHILLIPS: President Bush was raising money in South Carolina for Republican candidate, Mark Sanford. He's running for governor. This is what President Bush had to say about the miners today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With the great spirit of America recently in Pennsylvania, when there were miners who were trapped, people prayed for their -- for their deliverance. Americans spent hours trying to figure out how best to save those miners, came up with a plan, successfully got each and every one of them out. I want to thank God for the prayers of the American people for helping them, and thank God for their savior -- their saving. That's the kind of country we live in. It's a country fundamentally strong and great.


PHILLIPS: Talking about thanking God. Bill, we were talking earlier about how this family, all of the families of these nine miners never lost faith. I mean, gathering together at the old firehouse -- oh, it looks like -- OK, we are going to take the news conference now.

Bill Hemmer, we'll ask you to stand by -- let's listen in.


DR. RICH SALLUZZO, CEO, CONEMAUGH MEDICAL CENTER: ... a great day for the health system, but it's a great day for the miners. We are here, really, to acknowledge what a wonderful and miraculous recovery they had.

I am Dr. Rich Salluzzo. I happen to be an E.D. doc, an emergency department doc, but also the CEO, and I had the pleasure of taking care of a couple of these fine gentlemen. And here they come now.


I know you are dying to talk to the miners, but we feel that -- here they are right here.


You are going to have a chance to talk to the miners in just a minute. We have four of our miners here, Mr. Mayhugh, Tom Foy, Randy Fogle and John Unger. You'll get a chance to ask them questions about their experience.

But before we do that, we want to really introduce our governor, all of you who were watching television and reporting the news, all of us who were taking care of the patients and watching the news, saw what a phenomenal job the governor did in keeping our spirits up and keeping the state and nation's spirits up. I think that he had more optimism than many of us who have been in situations like this.

So I think the state and our hospital and the country owes an awful lot to the governor. So I would like a few words from him. We had to drag him from Harrisburg. He didn't even want to come, because he feels he has been in the limelight enough. But we made him come, and we want to hear a few words from him, so, governor. GOV. MARK SCHWEIKER, PENNSYLVANIA: Thank you. How about a big hand for our heroes here, nine of the rescued miners? There are three with us today -- four with us today.


They are special people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me get a big hand for this man right here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got the thing started, he got the ball on the roll (UNINTELLIGIBLE) getting the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) even done.

SCHWEIKER: Let me tell you about Tom here. I've got to share this one with you, folks. And this will be -- and this, I'll say this right up front, too. This is a much more enjoyable atmosphere as we reflect on the accomplishment and the fact that we have got nine of our guys back with us, but compared to some of the news conferences over Thursday and Friday and Saturday and Sunday.

I've got to tell you about this. You know, yesterday I was here, and I had a chance to meet with, as you know, all of the rescued miners at two spots, at the two hospitals. And I had come over here, and the way the timing was, I had walked into Tom Foy's room at just about 12:55, and that was about five minutes from the Pennsylvania 500 kicking off at Pocono across the state. And I didn't realize the TV was on, and where I stood, I said to Tom, hey, I just wanted to come by for a few minutes and make sure you're OK. He said, yes, that's great, but just make it quick, because the NASCAR race is about to start at 1:00, will you?

So Tom's got a sense of humor, and we had a chance to, just for a couple of minutes, to watch the kickoff of that race, and as you might imagine, had the opportunity just to be in the company of each other, and the same goes for the other eight gentlemen that are the stars of today, and I am only happy to acknowledge that they are with us.

And are -- I don't know if they are eager to answer your questions, but I know that they are prepared to answer your questions. Yes, and -- oh, Dennis -- Dennis, right here, my friend. Dennis Hall is here. Now, they call Dennis, Harpo.


SCHWEIKER: And all of these guys, and Randy is the crew chief. No, these are -- these are special people. They are also, at least from my standpoint, friends for life. They have taught us, they have taught a country, they have taught a world about grit and determination and the power of teamwork and prayers, because that's what got these gentlemen through 77 hours of hell.

And so, as I look at them, I feel nothing but profound respect for their success in putting all of those qualities to work. I look at Randy, who never, never didn't believe that they were going to get back to the surface, and as the crew chief, had the same outlook that any captain of a ship has, we are bringing the men to the top.

I look at Dennis, Dennis literally had seconds to make a decision, go one way or the other. One way meant death, and one way, perhaps, meant the opportunity to live, even for just a short time. And that's not being melodramatic. That's how it was down there 240 feet below the earth's surface.

But you know what? And I think this is such a powerful example of their thoughtfulness and caring for each other, and keep in mind there was another team of nine down there. Dennis had seconds, but Dennis also had the sense of place and time to make that call to the other team and say, get out, because the water is coming. That is one of the most powerful examples of thoughtfulness that I will ever hear. And I hope America feels the same way.

So, ladies and gentlemen, while the doctor has asked me for couple of minutes to offer the remarks that I have just provided, and did ask that I come on back in, I want to finish up and ask you to -- and really, I guess, direct the world's attention to five of the nine rescued miners.

And let me just say this and finish up. I feel a tremendous sense of kinship with all of the people of this area and this region. I said this to my kids on Saturday night. As some of you know, my boys and I, who are 14 and 12, had some plans. We were going to go to a concert. You know, people know that I like The Who, it's one of my favorite bands.

And I couldn't get there, but I gave a call around 5:00 just before they had departed, and I said to those guys, make sure you have a great time. And my son, Eric (ph), who is 12, said, you can't be there, what's up? And I said, what's up? I said, maybe it's a matter of who we are bringing up very soon. But I said, Eric (ph), I can't be there. We've got nine families, we've got nine miners, who will wait our successful rescue efforts.

And this is my point, though, as I mention this reflection. I said, Eric (ph), as it relates to the people of this region and the miners, I have never met -- I have never met in my professional and personal life a more spirited, determined, caring group of residents and families and rescue professionals, than those I have met in the last couple of days.

And you know what? We know about all of the fancy agencies with the big acronyms, and they should be mentioned, and I should mention MSHA and the folks from the Department of Labor led by Dave Labinski. People like Ray McKinney (ph), the smart technician he is, who along with Joe Sbaffoni of our DEP, nailed it when it came to dropping that 6-inch air pipe very quickly, with not a whole lot of science, just a gut feel for where we ought to send that down. And they nailed it and sent it down. And, wow, they were on the money, because it did two things, and every one of these guys will tell you this. They were literally beginning to gasp for air at that point, and that 6-inch pipe hit it right on the money. And that's where they air -- that's where they were, and at that point, injected that rich oxygen that saw to it they were going to be able to sustain themselves for the next couple of days.

And in that regard, it is an overstatement to say this: Perhaps, they were rescued twice. They will tell you that, at that moment, as the fresh air rushed in, saved once, and as the world now knows on Sunday morning, and will never forget it, saved twice.

I just want to mention, though, the organizations and the outfits you will never get to know, the people like that Sikesville Volunteer Fire Department. These are just plain people, plain volunteers that jumped out of their beds and their homes, not knowing what awaited them, and said, we are going to help. And together, whether they were unsophisticated and small, or big and technically talented, we assembled what I think will go down in history as one of the finest rescue enterprises that will ever be built. And after all -- after all, it's been 30 years since we have had a mine rescue, where every one of the trapped miners came up and is alive, and five of them, here today.

Guys, I'm proud to see you. Nine for nine, and five of the nine today.


QUESTION: Gentlemen, you couldn't have known while you were down there how much support you were getting from the rest of the world. But now that you know how people latched onto your story, I was wondering what that means to you, and what message you guys have for all of those people out there who have been following your story, of your survival so close?

JOHN UNGER, RESCUED MINIER: It's kind of plain and simple. All of the people that was there and rushing, we can't thank enough, the people from the hospital, all of the rescue people, the people who sent all of the pumps, they are the reason we are alive, all of the people in America prayed for us and everything. I mean, that's the only reason we are here. And that's why I came today. I came today to thank everybody that was out there that helped us and prayed for us and dug in for us, not for no story, no fame, no glory, just to thank all of these people personally from the bottom of my heart.

And I thank our Lord, God all mighty, too. That's another reason, the main reason we are here. That's all I have to say.

QUESTION: How are you guys feeling?





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sunshine is great.


UNGER: The first night I slept since Wednesday.

QUESTION: I'm sorry?

UNGER: The first night I slept since Wednesday.

QUESTION: So how did it feel to sleep?

UNGER: Pretty good, pretty good.


QUESTION: Can you tell us about some of the tougher moments down there that when things got weakest? And what carried you through it?

THOMAS FOY, RESCUED MINER: Well, I guess it was faith, and we just wanted to live, and we know we had a family. And we just wanted to survive, and that was it. We tried every way possible of getting out, and every place we went, it was just full of water. There was only one thing to do.

QUESTION: Were you guys able to hear the rescuers above...

FOY: Once they...


FOY: Yes. And once they started drilling, I mean, that was helping.

QUESTION: Once what?

FOY: Once they started drilling, I mean, that meant a lot. And when they -- we got the air. I mean, that's the air, that's what we needed more than anything, because we wouldn't have to worry about the water, because the air, we was going to run out of oxygen before we ran out of anything.

QUESTION: What did you have for dinner last night or for lunch today?

UNGER: Mashed potatoes and pork.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had spaghetti and ice cream.

QUESTION: And how about you guys?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had prime rib.



Foy: We thought of all kinds.


Foy: Anything you could imagine, we thought of.

QUESTION: How did pass the time?



On the bottom (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't sleep.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you couldn't sleep.





FOY: I found a bucket floating around. I found one bucket floating around, it had Dennis Hall's...


FOY: ... one sandwich and one Pepsi, and we split that between nine guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huddled together side by side.

FOY: What was that sandwich, Denny?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A ham sandwich.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A ham sandwich I believe it was.

DENNIS HALL, RESCUED MINER: That was corned beef.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Corned beef, corned beef.

FOY: That was -- I mean, Dennis Hall.

Heart fail, that's all I know you by. They said (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


FOY: Well, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) found a couple bottles of used pop. And I mean, hey, it was Mountain Dew, and I know Mountain Dew is one of your highest sugar you can get. And I figured with that and the water we had, we were good for another couple of days. Every time I kept coming back, the guy said, where are you getting all of this stuff at? And I said, buddy, I'm hunting something for us to survive with, and that's what we did.


FOY: Pardon?

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a bucket somewhere?

FOY: Yes, a floating bucket, his dinner bucket somehow or another floated up to us. I mean, up to our area. I picked it up, and sure enough, I mean, it was still dry inside that bucket. We...

QUESTION: So you found a sandwich and a Pepsi and some Mountain Dew.

FOY: Right.

QUESTION: How did you split it up?

FOY: One guy took a bite and just passed it around, whoever wanted a bite took a bite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very carefully.

FOY: Probably what -- one of the most...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was Thursday night.

FOY: Thursday night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was Thursday night that we ate the sandwich.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Friday morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or Friday morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Friday morning.

QUESTION: Did you guys stand in the water?

FOY: Just when we tried to get out, we was up in the water up over our head. Well, he was over his head, and we -- I know better because he's about a foot taller than I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think so. QUESTION: So you did have a dry area?

FOY: Yes.


FOY: Semi-dry, I mean, it was wet on the bottom, but we had a bunch of coal piled up, and then we laid our canvas down, and that's what we slept on. Then we just covered each other up, hugged each other, whatever it took just to keep warm, you know. Some guys would shake more than the other ones, and we had to treat them, because hypothermia was going to set in, you know.

QUESTION: What was the lowest point when you guys were down there?

FOY: Well, we had a couple of points down there that it was almost roofed out. We went through that, and then once we got down toward the end, we seen we wasn't going to make it, because it was too deep. It was all the way up to the roof, and each guy busting holes through the walls to get through. And I don't know, if water was on the other side, but we couldn't bust it through, but we tried our (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of the time.

QUESTION: Were you telling jokes or telling stories? How were you passing the time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We talked about anything and everything.

FOY: We can't tell you everything we talked about, but we talked about everything.

FOGLE: We done a lot of praying. I mean, that was No. 1, but I mean, we done a lot of praying.



FOGLE: It gives you a chance to look at it a little bit different. I mean, it's something, even the job we do that we did every day, I mean, you have to look at it again and life and what our families went through and that kind of stuff. I mean, you don't think about the hazards of the job and stuff as much, you know, just doing it. That now, I think we have all thought about it and what everybody went through. I don't know if too many of us will go back to what we did do. It put our families through a lot. I mean, it was hard on us, and it was, I think, harder on them for us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just have a couple of minutes, so (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is going to move the microphone to the table, because people are having problems listening. You guys can -- you can all go for two minutes, whoever needs their microphone to put it down there now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, I just got here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While we're moving the microphones, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you guys -- hey, you made the request to move the microphones, so get (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Folks, if we could just relax for one second, and then let's take questions one at a time very orderly. Please, let's keep that in mind, and then we can get -- and we can all get through this much easier. Thank you. Hang on one second, please.

PHILLIPS: All right, right now, we are waiting for the microphone situation to get in order, but we definitely want to hold on these live pictures here coming out of western Pennsylvania at Conemaugh Hospital in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

You are looking at five of the nine rescued miners. A couple of them making a few comments as they get organized. Thomas Foy, the one, if you are looking at your screen, he is the one to the far right, talking to somebody right now. A funny comment that the governor had said, the governor stopped by to visit him just prior to this news conference, saying, hey, do you have a minute, could we talk? And Thomas said, yes, I have just a second, but then I've got to watch the NASCAR race. I mean, these are we are talking hometown, down-to-earth folks here.

And he continued to say -- was reporters asked them what kept you alive? Why -- how did you know that you were going to come out of this alive? And they said, because we knew we wanted to live. We kept thinking of our families. That's all we thought about, kept encouraging each other.

They also said they heard the drilling, and they knew they were getting air in the tunnels. So they took that as a sign that they knew that they had a chance that they would survive.

Dennis, one of the gentlemen on their team, within their team, rather, he is in the back if you are looking at your screen, he is talking to a female reporter there into a microphone. Dennis was the one that made that call so the other nine rescue (sic) workers could get out of the tunnel, definitely a heroic move. The water started coming in. He made that call. Nine rescue -- or I'm sorry -- nine miners were able to get out, and now you are seeing the five of nine that were trapped in that underground -- in that tunnel.

Something else that Thomas Foy, one of the rescued miners there to the far right as you are looking at your screen, said that Dennis had a corned-beef sandwich, and that's -- they all took turns sharing that one sandwich, taking a bite, passing it along, also, some old Mountain Dew. So there you have it. There was a corned-beef sandwich, Mountain Dew, a lot of prayer and a heck of a lot of team work that kept these men alive.

Let's listen in. This is Thomas Foy right here.


FOY: ... Black Wolf Coal Company. I'm a mechanic electrician down there. We try to do the best we could to keep them with lighting and whatever we could down there last night.

FOGLE: I am Randall Fogle, R-A-N-D-A-L-L, F-O-G-L-E.

UNGER: My name is John Unger, U-N-G-E-R. I was the roof foreman.



QUESTION: Dennis, you were just saying that you would go back, and you will go back and mine again. Tell us about that and why.

HALL: I'll go back, but I have been mining for almost 30 years. This is something that happened that will probably never happen again in a million years if the coal mining industry lasts that long, which it won't. But that's just my feelings. It's something that happened that shouldn't have happened, but it did. It was the maps being kept whenever they rocked coal back in and they didn't keep good maps, that's what happened.

Now, we have to work out something that we can stay away from the bottom of your line further that this never does happen again. So if we do stay away from the boundary line further, drill holes as we advance, and we find water as we are drilling, it's never, ever going to happen again -- ever.

QUESTION: Do you think anybody might try to talk you out of this?

HALL: I don't think anybody could talk me out of anything. When I put my mind to do something, I do it. And you can ask my boss, Randy Fogle, and he knows me very well.

FOGLE (?): That's true.

HALL: I'm a man of means by no means.

FOGLE (?): That's true.


FOY: Well, I have my doubts. I mean, I've got almost 30 years in it, and it's just too much. I've got seven grandkids, I want to see them guys grow up. That's it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no way he will. We'll be on -- all of the grandkids on his back, and he ain't going nowhere underground.


FOY: No, while we was in there, because we made it out, me and my son-in-law both said, we're not going back in.

QUESTION: Why do you think this happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there's a few things. Like I say, somebody screwed up down the line. We don't know who, but we are going to find out.

QUESTION: Have you heard from the mining company? Are they covering your expenses? Are they paying you overtime for the time you were in the mine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They better be paying overtime.

QUESTION: Can one of you talk about what's happening on that front, in term of how the company has taken care of you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haven't heard from them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never heard nothing yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sure there will be insurance, though, for a while, because nobody knows what the treatment, or how the long people are going to need help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haven't gotten a phone call or a visit from there. I have no idea.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because's that's one thing we just shouldn't have to worry about. They had insurance when they went in, and they best have insurance for as long as they need it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to get into that.

QUESTION: What were you doing, and how did you realize that things were awry?

RANDY FOGLE, RESCUED MINER: Probably around 9:30 Wednesday night. Tom and I was running our other boulder.

QUESTION: I'm sorry, say again.

FOGLE: Our miner was in the entry beside us. I was mining in another entry.

And when Harv come out from the cut, I heard him coming out, and I heard water coming behind him, and then I know something was wrong at that point. That's when I went around the corner, and that's when I told Harv to go to Peter, and I yelled to my miner operator at the time. he was the one that got separated from us, we couldn't get to him. And the water was coming in at that point, down two entries, probably four feet high, in a torrent of just -- like a swollen river.

FOGLE: Yes, it would hit the corner of the stump or the ridge, it would hit the roof. I mean, it..

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had so much force behind it.

FOGLE: Yes, you couldn't attempt to do anything. Yes, it was -- it is unimaginable. To break something with that much water in it in the openings we had, I mean you got something 5 feet high, 18 feet high, you cut 15 million gallons or whatever loose, it's got to go somewhere. It was mainly going down two entries, then it came down into the other ones down further. It come over into the fifth entry, in the belt, and made it to the other columns and return entries.

And when we went down, that was probably at 9:30, and that's when Harv called up the other section to get out, and we called outside at the same time, and after that, then that was the end of our communication.

QUESTION: What does this say about why you survived? What human trait do you think each of you needed? What was the one human trait that helped you guys live through this.

FOGLE: Will to live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will to live, exactly. Just to get out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We relied on everybody else. Everybody did good team work. Someone would fall down, we would pick them up, and we just always stayed together, and worked as a team.

QUESTION: How did you know where to do when the water came in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We knew the highest point.

THOMAS FOY, RESCUED MINER: We knew the highest point. And you don't want it get close to the rapids, because if you would have got stuck in it, it would have just took you down.

FOGLE: What happened to us, by the time we could get out, now this is talking 3,000 feet, from we faced to where we can go to make the turn to get out, to head out of our mine.

By the time we got point, to the bottom of our section, which we had to walk, and you're talking in five feet high, to four feet high, to a little bit less, by the time we got to the bottom, it was too full where we couldn't get out. The water beat us to the bottom, and it just filled up to the roof at that point, and we couldn't get any further.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To that question, Tom, tell them how you felt after you guys walked and had to swim back. Almost out of gas. Right to your question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what I'm saying. The oxygen was that bad, we still made it down there to where we tried get out. But by the time we came back, we thought a couple of us was having a heart attack, but I don't know if it was anxiety or whatever it was. We all had pain, and we couldn't breath. We laid down a little bit, settled everything down. Once we got air in there, guys started feeling better, and we could start barricading, Randy said get blocks, get this, get that, we built walls. We knew, that was it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't have a choice. We couldn't get out...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We tried to barricade. We didn't have time to do it. I mean, it just came up too fast.

FOGLE: Did you think about the other crew at all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, all the time.

FOGLE: We didn't know. We didn't know. And I mean, as fast as that went down, it's a miracle we made it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were hoping they made it out. That's all we were hoping.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's too personal, no reason to tell but that.

QUESTION: What was the first thing you told your family members? You had to have thought a lot about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't much saying. It was just a lot of hugging and kissing, a lot of crying.

QUESTION: What were you thinking as everyone pulled up one by one?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We said, we will see you on top, boys. We'll see you on top. We never...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't get excited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We talked about what we were going to do when we got outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At that point in time, no questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were going to make it, there was no questions.

QUESTION: There is each of you a question I would like to ask you. What are you going to remember most from being down there, or what are going to forget the most?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don't really know, I mean, as far as -- I don't want to remember something like that, but like you say, I remember there was a time, that me and my son in-law, and we all got together -- I mean, that's the worst part, but we know we only had a certain time. That's it.

FOGLE: To me, it could have been a tragedy, but none of us dying were 18. I mean, everybody in the mine could have died. With what transpired through the whole thing, I mean, it comes to the point in time where we left it up to the people outside, which we had to do, and we relied on them at that point, and like I told them, because they asked me, and I said, hey, they have the resources of the whole world around them and they will have everything we need. It is not something we will forget, really.

To forget something about it, to me, I don't think there is anything you want to forget about. It was an experience that we lived through, and it worked the way things are supposed to work. I mean, we relied on them, and we did what we were supposed to do, and thank God they did what they were supposed to do, and it worked. That's the way it went.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it was nine men worked together as a team. We had a good leader, a great leader. We worked together as a team. We didn't leave anybody down. We did what we were supposed to do, like Randy said, and we waited on you guys to come get us, all the rescue workers, they did what they had to go, and them are the people, are the ones you should really talk to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Them are the people. Them are the people who are the best. They saved us. We did our job, and they really did their job.

HALL: I have to same thing to say, as what John just said. I'm grateful for what everybody did on the surface, because like Randy and John said, if they hadn't, we wouldn't be here to talk about, because it was that grateful that we worked together. They didn't know what we were doing underground; they had an idea. And we didn't know what they were doing above ground. Everything worked out. And that's why we are here, that's why we are talking to you people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, just remember how the community and families pulled together, and how the whole country just -- it always does, the United States, we always pull as one. And when I came out of the pit and looked around and seen all them lights, it was just unbelievable how many people was there for all of us.

BLAINE MAYHUGH, RESCUED MINER: Folks, thank you very much. That's going to be all. Just keep in mind, these guys are still patients, and they are getting tired from the heat.

Thank you very much. Thank you.


PHILLIPS: There you have it. You just heard from five of the nine rescues miners from Conemaugh Hospital in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Four of those rescued miners you heard from for the very first time. You had heard from Blaine Mayhugh yesterday, but incredibly words of inspiration there. Seventy-seven hours of hell -- how did they get through? Teamwork and prayer.

Thomas Foy -- right now, you are looking at a picture of Randy Fogle. He is in the middle there. To Randy's left is Thomas Foy. He was the most outspoken today. As reporters addressed these men with questions, Thomas Foy saying, all of them knew they wanted to live, they just kept thinking of their families, sharing stories, to keep their brains going, and their hearts going, and their minds active. They heard the drilling, the first time they got the brief moments when they were able to see that air was coming through, they knew they had a chance. They knew that people were working to save their lives.

They split a corned beef sandwich and mountain dew. They just passed it around the group to keep the energy levels up. When one person got cold, one person started shaking. They just hugged each other. They would go to the person that was the coldest, and would hold on to that miner, praying, continuously, they said. Once they got trapped, they started building walls and barricades to keep that water out. They were talking also about how narrow of an area that was, at one point only 4 feet high, 5 feet wide. Just imagine nine men trying to survive those conditions.

Some of them did say, they are not going to go back to being miners. They felt that their families went through more than they went through, and they don't ever want it put their families through that again.




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