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West Virginia Mine Explosion; Survivor Gets Care at Local Hospital

Aired January 4, 2006 - 02:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We knew things seemed to have changed. It's interesting. I mean, you know, we've heard so many families kind of talk about that roller coaster of emotions. And I know it's a cliche, and I try to avoid it. But it really has been an up and down all day long. There seems to be this sort of pall late this afternoon among some officials off camera, just kind of, you know, giving us a look, kind of indicating things weren't going well.
Certainly, the report this morning that high levels of carbon monoxide had been found in the mine when that drill busted through and was able to test the quality of the air - that certainly upset a lot of the miners' families. You've got to remember these miners' families know the mines very well. And the detailed information that they were demanding and asking from mine officials really enabled them to get a sense. And so, when they heard high levels of carbon monoxide, they knew that news was not good.

Conversely, when they heard that the man-trip (ph) was not damaged by the explosion - in fact, it was found and was seen to be intact and that the miners' belongings were not in that man-trip, that was - they took - the miners' families - a lot of them said to us off- camera that that was a very good sign. And one Red Cross official I talked to said a lot of the miners' families were very excited by that. It indicated that the miners were able to get off that vehicle and perhaps seek safety. They didn't know for sure at that point, but it was certainly a good indication.

Then we heard the governor of West Virginia coming out, a man who has been here really from the get go. As soon as this happened, he left Atlanta to come back here. He has been on the scene talking directly with miners' families, talking with the media as well. This is a guy, Joe Manchin, who back in 1968 lost an uncle in a mine. He lost a bunch of his buddies, as he described them, guys who he played ball with in high school. So he knows what it is to wait and to want information.

And he was determined, I think, to try to provide as much information as he could to these families whenever they got that information. And we would see him shuttling back and forth to that church to get the information.

So now it is - let's see. It is just past two a.m. here in Upshur County in West Virginia. We want to kind of reset and show you what happened when we discovered - when we heard and broke the news for the first time that the 12 miners were, in fact, alive. Let's show you the scene. This is what occurred. What was the time, Charlie? About 11:49. This is the scene as we broadcast it breaking the news at 11:49 p.m. Let's watch.


(UNKNOWN): They've just come out of the mines. We've got 12 alive. It's good news.

COOPER: Where did you - who told you that?

(UNKNOWN): They just come out of the mines and sent an official down, said we've got 12 alive. They're going in now with the rescue crews. But the body has not been identified yet. So, we've got 12.

COOPER: But are the 12...


COOPER: That was the scene. A friend of Terry Helms', one of the miners down in the mine, came and just spontaneously told us that. We had heard church bells going. We were in a commercial break. We quickly broke out of the commercial break. We told you that church bells were going off. We told you that we heard shouts and screams. I didn't want to indicate either way. There's no way you can tell from a shout or a scream, no way you can tell factually whether it's good news or bad.

It seemed like good news to us when the church bells started to ring and from the tenor of some of the screams. We have some still photos of the immediate moment that some of the families learned for the first time that the miners were alive. These are some of the still photos. We're seeing these for the first time. This is from inside the church. That's a remarkable photo.

And imagine, if you will, as you look at these pictures, imagine church bells chiming, people clapping and yelling and crying as we watch in silence. That the first shot of the ambulance going by, a shot which we also showed you live. That is a new photo, two family members.

It was truly an extraordinary moment, I think, for all of us. You know, a lot of our crews have been up - one crew here has been up some 48 hours - some 40 hours, I should say, just shooting. And I think everyone here is very involved in this story. It is certainly a very emotional moment for everyone.

Sanjay, the fact that we haven't seen miners at this point - I mean, I don't want to go down the road of speculation, but, I mean, we heard from the hospital spokesman earlier that they had set up kind of a little triage area outside the mine. What did that entail?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, it is somewhat hard to speculate right now. You know, one miner coming out, the others we're not really hearing that much about. I don't know quite what to make of that. What I can gather, based on everything that I've heard from the spokesman, from Joe Johns, what you're hearing is that this first miner that came out, apparently the doctors on the scene in this triage area apparently decided very quickly this person needed to leave that area.

The triage area wasn't equipped probably to be able to handle this particular miner's condition. And the person needed to get to a hospital quickly. So I don't know exactly what that meant. There was some speculation that the person might be unconscious.

You know, I was talking to Rick Sanchez, who's sitting here on the set, just a minute ago saying, "You know, what I would like to hear as a doctor is hear everyone say their names, actually come up out of the mine and say their names." To me, that tells me a lot. It tells me that they're conscious, they're able to actually breathe on their own, they're lucid enough to be able to recognize what's happening.

We're not hearing that, Anderson, so it's just hard to say. You know, doctors like data. That's what we need to know someone's actually doing OK. And we're just not getting enough of that right now to really make any judgments whatsoever, except for this one person essentially being rushed off to the hospital. And as soon as we can figure out what's going on with that particular person, we have a much better idea of what's happening with the rest of the miners as well, Anderson.

COOPER: Randi Kaye's hearing some information.

Randi, what are you hearing?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If we could just turn our light on. There you go.

Anderson, hopefully you can hear me and see me. We're still at the base here waiting for the miners hopefully to come over here to the Sago Baptist Church. But I just wanted to tell you keep an eye out from where you are because we just saw four people come down from the face of the coal mine who had obviously been checking - at least we're assuming they had been checking in on those injured miners who had previously been trapped.

They were in scrubs from head to toe, stethoscopes around their necks. And they were making their way in your direction. They were heading down this main road here, Sago Road, which you and I are both on separated by, what, about 100 feet or so. So keep an eye out in your direction. They're coming your way.

COOPER: OK, Randi, I missed you for the last part of it. You said they're coming - what is the significance of them?

KAYE: The significance is that they came down from the face of the coal mine. They're all wearing scrubs.


KAYE: Apparently it appears to us, at least, if we can make that assumption, that they had probably been visiting with the injured miners, the trapped miners. They had stethoscopes and they were - they had made their way down, and they were making a beeline for your direction heading down Sago Road, the main road here.

COOPER: Got it. OK, Randi, appreciate that. Joe Johns is standing by at St. Joseph's Hospital with some information.

And, Joe, what do you have?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The condition of the miner that was brought here, Anderson - I just talked to the spokeswoman here at the hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital in Buckhannon. We're told that miner is right now in critical condition here at the hospital, not clear whether he is conscious or unconscious at this time.

But we are told by the hospital that their plans are to try to stabilize the patient, they say. And after that, they say they expect to take that patient, either by helicopter or on the road, over to WVU, West Virginia University Hospital in Morgantown, which would be about an hour and 15 minute drive.

So we're told the miner's in critical condition right now. We don't know what's caused that. But they're definitely talking about moving him on over to Morgantown. Back to you, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Joe. Continue trying to get information.

Let's go to Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Critical, what does that mean?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it could mean a lot of different things here. Again, Anderson, the situation that we know is that it could have potentially been a confined area. We don't know exactly how small. An explosion of some sort took place. That can cause concussive type injuries to people, Anderson. And what that means more specifically is you have three types of injuries.

Primary injury is just when the blast wave itself potentially hits somebody, sort of jarring them back and forth. The second wave of that is when shrapnel and other debris may actually fly and strike and hit somebody. And the third is when the person himself is actually moved against the wall or moved against someone else. Any of those three things could be a significant injury.

We've also heard about this potential of carbon monoxide poisoning, you know, at high enough levels for a long enough time. That could certainly put someone into critical condition as well.

Anderson, you can't eliminate the sort of obvious things as well. You know, just the stress of something like this. The dehydration could cause someone with some preexisting heart condition to possibly have some heart problems as well. These are all things that sort of need to be thought about, again, all purely speculative.

When you hear critical condition, though, as a physician, my guess is this person is not conscious. Usually a person who's in critical condition is not conscious, probably is requiring a breathing tube and a breathing machine. And as Joe Johns mentioned, probably will not be driven to that hospital but flown quickly so that the added resources of a big university hospital could be expended on this person to try and do what's necessary.

COOPER: It's obviously important to stabilize the patient before they would risk a move.

GUPTA: Yes, and, you know, the stabilization that we talk about is pretty basic, thankfully. It's A, B, C. You've got to establish the airway. That's A. You've got to make sure they're breathing. That's B. And you've got to make sure they're circulating their blood. That's C.

So you probably put in a breathing tube. You go ahead and use the breathing machine. And you give fluids and through I.V.s give blood if necessary, give medications to raise the blood pressure to get the heart rate back into a good range. That's what stabilization means in a situation like this and then subsequently taking the person from what sounds like a smaller hospital, maybe not with all the resources that this person might need, to a big university hospital with an intensive care unit, doctors who take care of critically ill patients on a regular basis.

COOPER: Where does critical stand in sort of the spectrum of ways to describe conditions? There's stable. There's critical. What else is there?

GUPTA: Yes, you know, stable is probably not the best term because you could be stable critical, meaning you're in critical condition, you don't change from critical. And some people consider that stable. But critical in the scheme of things is somebody who probably needs the things that we were just talking about, a breathing tube, a breathing machine, maybe needing some medications to keep their blood pressure up and probably needs to be in an intensive care unit as well.

It's very hard to say. And I can almost anticipate your next question, Anderson. You know, can - which is can you guess how the person's going to do. You can't. There are people who are in critical condition who do just fine a few days later, a few weeks later. And there are people who don't do as well. And it's just impossible to tell that at this point based on critical condition alone, Anderson.

COOPER: So the triage area that's set up outside a facility like this - what can they do there? I assume they can do more than they can in an ambulance. What kind of - how advanced can they get there?

GUPTA: I imagine what they're doing in a triage area is basically trying to quickly determine who is at what level, meaning is there someone here who needs to immediately go to the hospital, like we've seen. Is there someone here who's going to need very cursory care, just needs their blood pressure checked, maybe get a blanket and get some fluids? And there are people who sort of are in between, maybe need an I.V., maybe need some more constant care.

So you're going to - that's what a triage area really does, is try and determine the triage of who needs to go where, where the doctors and nurses and the other health care professionals, where they need to be using their resources on which miner specifically. And that's probably all that can really happen there. Anything more sophisticated than that, Anderson, needs to go to a hospital, either this one, St. Joseph's, where Joe Johns is or a bigger university hospital.

COOPER: And how important is it for - I mean, I guess when you have this number of patients, I mean, that adds to the importance of trying to sort of categorize them all and see which ones need - I'm searching for the word because I'm tired.


COOPER: But of prioritizing them.

GUPTA: Yes, and that's exactly right. It is a prioritizing. And triage is sort of the medical term for that. I mean, you're exactly right. That's what they're doing. You know, you and I talked to the spokesperson for the hospital earlier. It sounds like they've brought in all of what this little town's resources has, you know, in terms of all the doctors they could possibly have at the hospital. So I don't doubt that they'd be able to take care of 12 patients in sheer numbers alone.

The problem might be - and we're sort of starting to get a sense of this - is what this hospital is actually equipped to do. They're already talking about taking this first miner and actually transporting him to another hospital, a bigger university hospital. But you're basically talking about different stages here.

The miners are going to come up from the mine. They're going to be triaged on the site, which basically means doctors are going to lay hands on them, nurses are going to lay hands on them and determine who needs to be going where. From that point, either miners may be staying there a little bit longer at the triage site.

They may be getting into an ambulance going to the St. Joseph's Hospital. And upon getting there, it may be determined that they can't be taken care of at this particular hospital and need to go to a bigger university hospital. So it sounds like several different decision trees are going to take place here over the next couple of hours probably, Anderson.

COOPER: You know, Sanjay, one of the things that a mine official kept saying over the course of these last two days was that the temperature in the mine was about 55 degrees. Is that - it actually sounded sort of warmer than I thought it was going to be and certainly warmer than the air is out here. That is still cold enough, I guess, to get hypothermia, yes?

GUPTA: It is cold enough to get hypothermia, especially if you remember a couple of things. I don't know what sort of protective gear they had. And I also don't know about the dampness of the situation and possible water exposure as well. Those two things make a huge difference in terms of potential hypothermia. But my guess is - and I think medical professionals on site are going to treat all these miners as if they're hypothermic just prophylactically, just preventatively, just go ahead and treat them as if they're hypothermic. You take their temperature, go ahead and give them blankets. They may be giving them warm intravenous fluids as well to try and warm them up, quickly - bring that body temperature up as quickly as possible.

But you're right. Fifty-five degrees in the face of possible dampness, in the face of possible water exposure could certainly make someone hypothermic very quickly.

COOPER: All right, Sanjay. Randi Kaye is standing by.

Randi, are you aware of what the families are doing? I mean, they are still inside the church. Are they getting any more information, to your knowledge? I mean, have you seen the governor coming or anyone else coming to talk to them?

KAYE: No, we haven't. In fact, they've roped it off with some police tape so we can't even get near the church. We're being kept down here a few hundred feet away from the church. But when we were up there earlier, they were gathering inside, the family members. And some of the Red Cross team members were actually trying to keep the media away from family members who didn't want to be interviewed.

Anderson, it was really an interesting mix up there because some of the - actually some of the family members were celebrating and were anxious to talk with us. And a lot of the other family members if we would approach them and ask them, even though the news appeared to be good, they wanted to be left alone. They said this was their time, and they wanted to have the time with their families alone.

But we do have some people here that have just been gathered. Some have come just to support those families and be here with them in their time of joy and certainly one family in their time of grief. So Vinny Ables (ph) is actually one of the people who has come by the Sago Baptist Church just to show your support for the families.

VINNY ABLES (ph): Yes.

KAYE: And I guess tonight certainly much joy for many of the families involved.

ABLES (ph): Yes.

KAYE: How did you feel about hearing the bells ring here at the church and seeing it?

ABLES (ph): It was wonderful.

KAYE: What has the wait been like, do you think, for this community?

ABLES (ph): A long wait. KAYE: Yes, and I know that you have your brother, Bobby Wilford (ph), who we actually talked to a short while ago. And he was actually a little bit too emotional even to speak with us. But he does some work there at the mines. He repairs some of the trucks that are used to haul the coal.

ABLES (ph): Yes.

KAYE: And have you worried about him there?

ABLES (ph): Yes, a lot.

KAYE: Tell me what happened on the morning - yesterday morning or now a couple of days ago at this point - when you first heard that there had been some type of explosion there. What did you think?

ABLES (ph): My brother came to my head. I could just picture him, you know, being exploded. You know, it scared me. I was devastated.

KAYE: You weren't home at the time.

ABLES (ph): No, I was at work.

KAYE: You were at work?

ABLES (ph): At Stranny Bere (ph) in Buckhannon, West Virginia. Maryland Linger (ph), my boss - she had came in that morning around 10:00, and she had told me about it.

KAYE: And right away...

ABLES (ph): She said, "Have you heard?" And I said, "No." She said, "There has been an explosion at the mine on Sago." And I was scared to death.

KAYE: You thought right away your brother might have been involved.

ABLES (ph): Yes.

KAYE: But luckily he wasn't.

ABLES (ph): Yes, thank God.

KAYE: What do you think these families have been going through?

ABLES (ph): Tough times here. I couldn't even imagine, you know. Just the thought, you know, my brother could have been there, you know.

KAYE: But yet this community depends on these coal mines so much. It's a way of life for so many people here and a way to earn a better living than they might otherwise.

ABLES (ph): Yes, they do. Yes. KAYE: OK, all right. Well, thanks so much. And thank you for your support of the families. I'm sure they would thank you if they could right now.

So, Anderson, that is the scene here as we wait. Still no sign of the governor. But we understand when we talked to those two girls earlier tonight who had been here - they brought some doughnuts and coffee - they were telling us that they were beside the governor when the news came in that there were 12 miners alive. So we understand he's probably in the church there, but we haven't seen him ourselves.

COOPER: You talked about those two girls who brought doughnuts and coffee, so many people from surrounding communities have come here just to lend a hand. Two young men here join me now.

What is your name?

TYSON GOLFLAND (ph): My name is Tyson Golfland (ph).

COOPER: And you an assistant youth pastor?

GOLFLAND (ph): Yes, sir, that's correct.


And your name?

MATT KEIFER (ph): My name's Matt Keifer (ph).

COOPER: And you're a pastor as well?

KEIFER (ph): I'm a worship minister.

COOPER: OK. So why did you come?

GOLFLAND (ph): Well, we had heard expressed concern from our senior pastor here this morning about there was a lot of young people in the area that were just in need of just somebody to talk to, somebody to be with. And he let us know that that need was obvious here. So he gave us a call. We came down and just lended our support.

COOPER: When did you get here?

GOLFLAND (ph): We got here about three o'clock.

COOPER: Three o'clock? What was the mood like when you first got here?

KEIFER (ph): I'd say everyone was kind of, you know, questionable. They didn't really know what was going on. They were waiting for their updates. And just really they were just, you know, just hoping for the best.

COOPER: They got an update late in the day that seemed to kind of - people starting to get a lot more optimistic. Certainly, the governor sounded more optimistic when they found out that the man-car (ph) or the man-trip (ph) was intact.

KEIFER (ph): Yes, absolutely. Whenever he expressed the concern that the man-car (ph) had been still on the tracks and it was OK, they had actually discovered footsteps from the car. And that gave them hope that, hey, maybe these 12 men made it off that car and alive and they're somewhere near an air pocket.

COOPER: So they actually found footsteps from the man-trip (ph), that you heard?

GOLFLAND (ph): That's the information that we received. Whether it's exactly right or not, we're not 100 percent sure. But that's...

COOPER: But that's what you heard from family members?

GOLFLAND (ph): Yes, sir, that's right.

COOPER: OK. And you were there. Were you inside the church when the families were told the miners were alive?

KEIFER (ph): Actually, yes. And when I heard it, everyone started cheering. I actually went outside, and he stayed inside.

COOPER: How did you hear it yourself?

GOLFLAND (ph): We just heard everyone start screaming. So we knew something good had happened.

COOPER: All right.

KEIFER (ph): And so, I went outside, and everyone was hugging and saying that they're alive. And so, it was pretty obvious.

COOPER: What was it like for you?

KEIFER (ph): Actually, I was there. You know, we had a little boy that his dad was inside the mines. So when I went outside and seen that kid with his family saying, you know, "I was right. I still had faith my dad's alive," you know, it brought joy to my heart.

COOPER: How about for you? What was it like?

GOLFLAND (ph): Absolutely. I had the same experience as him. One of the little boys that's about 10 years old - his father was in the mine, like he said. And he just was expressing to Matt and I that there was still hope and that his dad was OK and he was still alive. And then when that news broke and they all ran outside, I guess he was reunited with his mother and his uncle and everything seemed to be good from there. And then he knew his dad was OK.

COOPER: Do you think times like this, I mean, test faith? Does it make people question their faith, or does it strengthen faith?

GOLFLAND (ph): Well, I think actually it does a little bit of both. It just depends on the viewpoint and where you look at it from. A lot of people were optimistic coming into this, but they continued to keep praying and keep believing that their hopes were going to come true and that their loved ones were going to be OK. And as they continued to pray, they saw their prayers answered here right before their eyes. They saw 12 of those 13 men come out of that mine. And for them, that was reassuring that their prayers were doing what they were meant to do.

COOPER: We've heard that M-word a lot, miracle, spoken by the governor, spoken by everyone. Do you believe there was a miracle here tonight?

KEIFER (ph): Yes, sir, absolutely, I do. I believe that beyond a shadow of a doubt. With the circumstances that were in that mine with the explosion setting it aside from any other kind of mine that we've been, you know, used to in our - within the recent history, this is - the circumstances looked bad. You know, it looked like there wasn't much hope. But, you know, their prayers went up, and it works.

COOPER: How will you remember this night? This has got to be a night you're going to remember for a long time to come.

KEIFER (ph): Actually I'll remember the night, of course, the boy - the little boy, you know, with that whole reuniting. He's going to be able to be with his dad again. And just seeing everyone, you know, so excited. And seeing the, you know, the miracle that happened tonight was just incredible. And just to see everyone's reactions from early this afternoon when everyone had an emotion where they didn't - they were kind of teeter tottering. They didn't know what was going on. And then when everyone found out they were alive, you know, the joy that was on everyone's face was just incredible.

COOPER: It's also got to be so hard for the family of the miner who will not be returning, the man who was lost here. And they haven't identified him yet. We've talked to one woman who believes it is her uncle. It's got to be - and for all the other - you know, what amazed me about the woman we talked to, Michelle Mallinger (ph), was that even though she was feeling lost in her heart and she was convinced it was her uncle who died, she had joy in her heart for the 12 families who were going to get their loved ones back.

GOLFLAND (ph): Yes, we actually got to witness that, the family who they were sure it was their loved one that, you know, didn't return from the mine. And they were very down. And it was just - there were mixed emotions in the room because, of course, you have the rest of the 12 men, their family, their friends. They were all excited. They were upbeat. They were encouraged.

But then at the same time in the one corner of the room you saw where there was that one family that still, you know, they were unsure. In fact, they leaned towards the thought that, you know, their loved one is the one that didn't make it.

COOPER: Yes, yes.

GOLFLAND (ph): But through that trial, they were still willing and they were still able to cheer on and to be rejoicing with other families who were going to be reunited. But at the same time, our hearts and everyone else's in the room - their hearts changed and reached back to minister to that family that was in need.

COOPER: Well, I think that it says something about this community that even in the midst of joy they immediately remembered, you know, the family that wasn't experiencing the full experience of joy. And, I mean, I think it says a lot about the families who did receive that good news, that even in this happy moment that they remembered the family that wasn't experiencing -- that, you know, that was experiencing a horrible moment. I think it says a lot about this community as well.

Guys, I appreciate you coming by and doing what you've been doing. Thank you so much.

GOLFLAND (ph): Yes, thank you.

COOPER: All right. Just two of the young men who've come by. And we've been seeing this, you know, for the last two days, just people coming by, doing what they can, you know, adding their voice, lending their hand, you know, lending their prayers when they can.

Randi Kaye is standing by a little bit further down by the church. We also have Dr. Sanjay Gupta standing by for any medical news.

Sanjay, we think we may be getting a press conference from the hospital. We're not sure at this point. We're still following that up. We believe that may occur in the next couple of minutes. What would you want to hear from doctors? I mean, what's the most important information right now that you can find out from health professionals?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, I think the biggest thing right now...

COOPER: Let's go - actually, I'm sorry, Sanjay. Sorry, we've got this press conference. Let's take it now live.

(UNKNOWN): ... the general surgeon with St. Joseph's Hospital and treated the patient come and speak to you. She'll give a statement about the patient, and then she'll take any questions.

QUESTION: How do you spell it?

(UNKNOWN): Dr. Susan Long, S-u-s-a-n L-o-n-g. She's a general surgeon with St. Joseph's Hospital of Buckhannon. And she treated the injured miner that was brought in here about half an hour ago. And she'll make a statement, and then she'll take any questions.

QUESTION: Thank you. Will family members of the injured miner (inaudible)?

(UNKNOWN): I don't know if any family members of the injured miner are here.

QUESTION: (inaudible) OK, thank you.

DR. SUSAN LONG, GENERAL SURGEON, ST. JOSEPH'S HOSPITAL, BUCKHANNON: OK. I haven't really prepared a statement, but I'll just give you a brief. We received one patient from the scene, a miner, an injured miner brought out about 45 minutes ago. The patient was critically injured, as you probably heard. We had stabilized the patient and done some basic things. We are not a level one trauma center here in Buckhannon.

We're a very small hospital. But we do deal with a lot of stabilization of trauma that happens in the area. We then stabilized the patient and generally transfer them to a level one trauma center, most often Ruby at Morgantown. And that's most likely where this patient is going to go.

QUESTION: Can you detail his conditions, please, as to why he hasn't been taken to this trauma center (ph)?

LONG: The patient is critically injured. He's on a ventilator. He is not conscious. OK? We have done some very preliminary testing to try to determine his injuries and nothing major.

In the interest of time, here we generally try to stabilize the patient, make sure they're breathing, you know, have an airway, have a heartbeat, have a blood pressure, have good I.V. access and no major active bleeding going on or major injuries that require immediate attention, which he did not have. And once the patient is stabilized, we then transfer the patient to Morgantown where at the level one trauma center they'll have much more time and leisure to do things like investigate, you know, bone fractures or more minor injuries that are not critical.

QUESTION: Was he found unconscious in the mine?

LONG: Actually, we received no information from what happened in the mine. The press report we got was from the EMS bringing him to us. So we really don't know what condition he was in when he was found in the mine.

QUESTION: He was unconscious when he came to the hospital.

LONG: He was unconscious when he arrived at the hospital and during the transport.

QUESTION: What about his carbon monoxide deficit (ph) (inaudible)?

LONG: His carbon monoxide levels were negative.

QUESTION: I'm sorry, (inaudible)?

LONG: That means that as best as we can tell with somewhat primitive equipment that we have here for measuring those, his carboxi-hemoglobin (ph) levels were negative, indicating no carbon monoxide in his system, as far as we could tell.

QUESTION: (inaudible) respiratory?

LONG: That can't be really determined at this time because he was unconscious.

QUESTION: Did he have burns?

LONG: No visible burns.

QUESTION: What physically could you see that causes him to be put into a trauma center (ph)?

LONG: Well, you know, you have to - these guys were in the mine for 40 hours. OK? So they are cold. They are dry. The things you have to worry about with these guys in addition to whatever injury they sustained from the blast is that they're going to be dehydrated. They're going to be hypothermic, cold. And that could make a person unconscious, just in itself. And so, you know, like I said, our aim here is to stabilize the patient, make sure they have an airway, make sure their oxygenating their blood and get them to the level one trauma center.

The other things that could have happened - we have no idea what happened in there. We don't know if he was in the vicinity of the blast. We don't know if he sustained any physical trauma, other than just what we can see on his surface. But we have stabilized his basic cardiovascular system to the point where he can be transferred to a level one trauma center. And then they can do all the secondary

DR. SUSAN LONG, ST. JOSEPH'S HOSPITAL: And so, you know, like I said, we -- our aim here is to stabilize the patient, make sure they have an airway, make sure they're oxygenating their blood and get them to the number one trauma center.

The other things that could have happened, we have no idea what happened in there. We don't know if he was in the vicinity of the blast. We don't know if he sustained any physical trauma other than what we can see on the surface. But we have stabilized his basic cardiovascular system to the point where he can be transferred to a level one trauma center. And then they can do all the secondary surveys, looking for other injury, you know, other than the immediate life-threatening ones, which we've stabilized.


LONG: Not very much, actually. We really -- we didn't see anything obvious.

QUESTION: Any broken bones?

LONG: Nothing obvious.


LONG: Actually, the weather is too bad for the helicopters. So when we can't fly, we go by ambulance.

QUESTION: How far is the hospital?

LONG: To Ruby? It's about an hour and 15 minutes.

QUESTION: Did you say his carbon levels were negative? What reading would you expect (UNINTELLIGIBLE), for normal people, what would you expect...

LONG: You mean what is the lab value?


LONG: Well, that generally depends on your lab equipment, and, honestly, off the top of my head, I can't tell you what our lab normal is. I know that I ordered the test and it was reported normal, you know, that there was no detectable to me.


LONG: But I don't know exactly what the number is that comes off our machine here.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) late-term, you don't know, really, what's wrong with him?

LONG: I would suspect shock. And beyond that, I don't know. They'll have to do some further investigating.

QUESTION: How long was he here?

LONG: About 40 minutes.

QUESTION: Is the life threatened?

LONG: The patient is critically ill.

QUESTION: Do you think he'll survive?

LONG: I cannot determine that at this time.

QUESTION: What does critical mean (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

LONG: Critical? Well, when you're on a ventilator and you can't breathe on your own and you're unconscious, that's pretty critical.

QUESTION: When are the 11 -- the other 11 coming?

LONG: We have not heard anything.

QUESTION: And why would they just send one and not the others?

LONG: I can't answer that for you. I was in the trauma room with the one sick patient.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? LONG: They did notify us that he was on the way, but we have not heard anything else from the scene. We're still waiting, like you guys are.

QUESTION: So he's in an ambulance (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

LONG: He is currently being transported to Morgantown.

QUESTION: On a ventilator?

LONG: On a ventilator. I mean, technically, he's being bagged, but, I mean they don't actually have a ventilator in the ambulance. But they're breathing for him. He's sedated and -- because he was unconscious. And just to clarify that, when you put a tube in somebody to help them breathe and they are unconscious but still moving, you have to sedate them for their own safety. So he's been sedated so that we can comfortably breathe for him, OK?


LONG: I have not spoken to any family members and as far as I know, the family members have been -- are still out at the scene.


LONG: Actually, we have no identification on the patient. He's a young guy.


LONG: No. No.


LONG: Nothing.


QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) when he arrives at the next hospital?

LONG: Well, I don't know because I, you know, I mean I walked down here. I don't have (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I just -- it takes an hour and 15 minutes from the time he leaves, you know? Probably a little less if they drive fast.


LONG: Well, you know, it's very elusive, carbon monoxide poisoning. I mean their skin gets pink and they're, you know, falsely pink. And you look at them and you think oh, they're pink, they're great, but they're not. And so unless you can detect their carboxyhemoglobin levels -- and when you put the sat -- the oxygen saturation monitor on their finger, it's false. It doesn't give you a true reading in somebody with carbon monoxide poisoning. So you really have to be able to run the blood and check for carboxyhemoglobin. And you have to suspect it, because it can be very elusive.


LONG: You test their blood.


LONG: We did do blood, yes.


LONG: Yes.


LONG: Yes. Actually, we've been on red alert since 6:30 a.m. on Monday, when -- well, 8:00, about, is when they called me to the hospital. And I've been on high alert since then.

QUESTION: How is your head? How are you dealing with it personally (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

LONG: Well, you know, fine. I mean, you know, we're -- this is a small community and we don't have a lot of major tragedies. So this is, you know, trauma, people waiting, nobody knowing what's going on. We don't...

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) be able to handle the other patients?

LONG: We can handle whatever comes here. We are fully prepared and let me tell you something, you should see the scene in that E.R. We had a doc for every two patients. We had a nurse for every patient. We had x-ray, we had lab, we had pulmonary, you know, our oxygen people were there. I mean we had a setup ready for as many patients as they roll in here. And if they come, we're going to be here and we're going to be ready.


LONG: Yes.

QUESTION: Did you (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? Did I hear you say that? Or did...

LONG: Yes. And remember, I clarified that. When you put a tube in someone's throat to breathe for them because they're not breathing adequately on their own, it's very important that you then sedate them, because they will not enjoy having that tube in their throat breathing for them.

So when we intubate somebody, we sedate them in order to make it more comfortable for them and safer for them, especially going on an ambulance ride, because the last thing you want a patient to do halfway down the road is yank that tube out and then it becomes a very difficult situation to put that tube back in in the middle of an ambulance.

So you sedate the patient.


LONG: Well, yes. As far as we could tell, he was unconscious, but moaning when he came in and...


LONG: Nothing like that. No. You asked me if we had indications of a head injury and there really weren't. It was more like shock, as best as I can tell.


LONG: Morgantown, as far as I know, unless someone changes the plan on me.


LONG: Yes, I'll talk to you about the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


COOPER: You've been listening to a live audio feed of the hospital at St. Joseph's.

Sanjay, you were listening in on that.

What can you tell? What's the important -- what are the headlines?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that there are some headlines here.

One is Dr. Long was talking about the fact that this particular miner was unconscious, but actually moaning a bit when he came in, which, to me, is actually a very good sign. You know, I wasn't sure -- it was the whole spectrum of things that I was thinking of, everything from the person was going to be perfectly fine to potentially have a significant brain injury.

It sounds like the person has had a significant injury, but the fact that he was, it sounds like, moving to the point where he needed sedation and moaning, as well, making some noise, are actually good signs.

We also know, as we sort of thought earlier, Anderson, the patient did require a breathing tube and is now being transported to a bigger hospital to be placed on a breathing machine.

And the -- during transport, they're actually -- a bag is actually used to force air in and out of the lungs. That's going to take place for about an hour and 15 minutes. So that's significant, as well.

No obvious injuries. We talked earlier about this concussive, this explosion, what sorts of injuries that might have caused. At least hearing Dr. Long, it doesn't look like they found any obvious injuries when examining this particular person.

Interestingly, that there was no identification. They don't know exactly how old this person is, although they did say a youngish sort of person, as well.

I still think it's sort of wide open in terms of what may have caused this person's unconscious. It was not carbon monoxide. That test came back negative. It probably is a combination of dehydration, hypothermia and maybe some low blood pressure, as well.

If it's all those things, there's a good chance a recovery could be made. Hard to say at this point, but a bit more encouraged after listening to Dr. Long -- Anderson.

COOPER: Dr. Long -- I should also just tell our viewers, we are seeing activity up at the church and the governor has arrived up at the church. So we believe there may be a press conference very shortly.

We, of course, are going to bring that to you live if it happens. We have the story covered from many different angles. We have reporters and camera crews all around this entire area.

Sanjay, when the doctor, though, when Dr. Long was asked whether the patient would survive, she wouldn't say either way.

Is that just common practice?

GUPTA: Yes, that is pretty common, not to say that. She also was somewhat circumspect about giving any of the numbers in terms of the exact blood pressure or the heart rate, any of those sorts of things.

This is a very small hospital, it sounds like, Anderson. This is a doctor who obviously takes care of some injured people, but this is not a level one trauma center. They are not used to taking care of critically injured patients at all. So it's just hard, probably, to get an assessment there.

But, again, just -- and, you know, we're sort of, you know, you and I, everyone is sort of speculating a bit here, because none of us has actually seen this patient. And I say that, you know, in preface to anything else that I might say.

But the fact that that patient came in moaning, actually moving (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

COOPER: OK, Sanjay, I've got to interrupt.

I've got to interrupt, Sanjay.

Let's listen to the governor's press secretary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just as soon as they conclude this meeting with the families.

QUESTION: Any idea what time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's -- I have no idea. It...


QUESTION: What's the governor's plan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governor is with the company officials, meeting with the families at this time. The only thing I know at this point is that the company officials will be conducting a briefing as soon as they conclude their meeting here with the families.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean the governor has been spending a lot of time here with the families, so I'll check on that. But my understanding, again, is company officials will be having a briefing as soon as they conclude this (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're live, by the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... the norms of what we have been doing and what the company officials have been doing is briefing family first and then they'll go conduct their media -- the regular scheduled media briefing.

QUESTION: Is the nature of this meeting any different than the earlier meetings?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not know that.

And that's all of the information I've got.

QUESTION: Thank you.


QUESTION: Thanks, Tom.

COOPER: That was the spokesperson for the governor, saying that the governor is holding a meeting with mine officials. The mine officials then plan on briefing -- my understanding is the mine officials then plan on briefing the family members and then, as has been the practice, will then come out and brief the media.

Randi Kaye, who is standing by -- we're actually seeing a number of ambulances now here. They don't have any lights flashing and they're not actually -- do we have a shot of that?

Let's try to see if we can ascertain -- I see -- I don't know, did all of those ambulances -- Manuel, did you see if all those ambulances came from -- we see one ambulance now turning the corner, which indicated that this ambulance came from the mine. Let's try to -- two of them, we're told, just came down. We will watch this as it is happening. You can see it.

Let me step out of the frame here as much as possible. And -- it sounds like one of those ambulances is backing up. So, again, we're just going to have to wait and see what is occurring there.

Let's bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta as we're waiting to see what the deal is with these ambulances, because I'm seeing a fair amount of traffic now on that far road. I'm looking through the woods. But it looks like there are a number of vehicles coming.

Sanjay, as you were saying, this is basically, it's a level one -- it's not a level one trauma center, is that correct?

GUPTA: That's right. It's not a level one.

COOPER: So they just...

GUPTA: Correct. So...

COOPER: And what is the significance of that?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean several different things.

One is they may not have the ability to take care of critically injured patients, as may be the case with this particular first miner, at least. You know, level three trauma centers typically have all sorts of different doctors, including neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, critical care doctors, lung doctors, all standing by to be able to take care of patients that need this sort of care, like it sounds like this particular miner does.

This particular hospital, it sounds like they were able to just simply stabilize. The things that we were talking about earlier, Anderson, establish an airway. That means putting in that breathing tube, actually forcing air into the lungs. And then establishing a circulation, as well.

So it sounds like that's what they've done, stabilizing him and are now moving the patient.

COOPER: Sanjay?


COOPER: I hate to interrupt you. I understand Dr. Long is actually in the beeper line. You can ask her questions directly.

Dr. Long, are you there?

LONG: Yes, I'm here.

COOPER: Great.

Thank you for joining us.

LONG: Can you hear me?


Dr. Sanjay Gupta from Atlanta wants to ask you a few questions.


GUPTA: Hey, Dr. Long, you said the patient came in unconscious.

Was he moving? Was he doing anything neurologically?

LONG: Just moaning, really, and breathing fairly rapidly.

GUPTA: And what's your best guess as to why he is in such a debilitative neurological state? I mean it doesn't sound like it was carbon monoxide. What do you think it is?

LONG: No, I think he was cold. I think he was in shock.

GUPTA: So this is just being hypothermic, essentially.


LONG: Hypothermic and dehydrated, best we can tell. He had no obvious trauma to his head or anywhere, really.

GUPTA: Was he wearing a helmet?

LONG: Not when he got to us. But we got no information from his condition when they found him in the mine. Really, the communication from the scene has been horrible and the first communication we got was from the EMTs when they had him in the ambulance.

GUPTA: The communication from the triage area has been horrible, you said, to you?

LONG: The communication from down in the mine, you know, the condition that he was found in in the mine was not communicated to us. The first communication we received was them loading him in the ambulance, and we received communication from the EMTs that were caring for him on the way to the hospital. That was the first communication that we received.

So we really have gotten no information of, you know, what he looked like when they found him in the mine or what his condition was at that point. And it did take them, you know, a bit -- they said, I think, 45 minutes to get him to the surface. So what went on during that 45 minutes, we have not received any information about that.

GUPTA: Was he able to communicate with you in any way whatsoever?

LONG: No. Not at all. Just reacting to pain, basically. GUPTA: And his blood pressure and his heart rate, were those significantly low? I mean you say he was critical. What makes him critical?

LONG: On arrival, on arrival they were. But we got him stabilized fairly rapidly by just giving him fluid and warming him up and getting him intubated.

GUPTA: You know, I...

LONG: And his vital signs became much better very quickly.

GUPTA: You know, I hear that and it sounds like, I mean a patient like that could probably be taken care of at most hospitals.

Why the transfer to the level one trauma center then?

LONG: Well, the main reason is that we are, you know, we're a very small hospital. We do have a seven bed ICU, but we very rarely have a patient on a ventilator for any length of time. And so it is generally our practice in this area to transport patients to Morgantown when the service is available and when we expect that the patient may need -- I mean we're looking at a patient here who we don't really know what his injuries are. We don't really know, you know, if he has any rathomiolysis (ph). We don't really know if he's been laying on his side for two days and not moved. We don't know any of that stuff.

And so rather than initiating critical care in our little hospital, where we don't do very much of that, if the facilities are available, they're really not that far away, Morgantown. And so we really utilize them and it really is a better system for caring for the patients in these kind of situations because yes, sure, can we do it? Yes, in a pinch, you know?

GUPTA: Right. Right.

LONG: But they'll do it better, you know?

GUPTA: And, Anderson, let me just point out, as well, Dr. Long, you mentioned this patient was sort of youngish, you said. There are patients who I've read are in their 50s, I think, as well.

LONG: Correct.

GUPTA: If this patient was so sick, how do you think those older patients are going to be doing in this same -- sort of similar conditions?

LONG: Well, as I, you know, as I was saying, like we are prepared pretty much for everything and one of the things that we were talking about in the E.R. in preparing for these patients is dealing with other medical conditions that they have. I mean these 50-year- old guys, when they come out, we're going to be checking their heart, we're going to be checking and making sure their blood sugar is OK, finding out if they have diabetes, you know. They've probably got all these things.

And so we have to be prepared to not just look for their mine injuries, but also for what's going to happen to their body with their medical problems after two days without their medicine and, you know, all those kind of things.

So definitely we've anticipated all of that.

GUPTA: And, Anderson, let me just ask one more question of Dr. Long.

COOPER: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.


COOPER: Charlie, Charlie, we've got to come back to us.

LYNETTE ROBY: They're all fist fighting in the church.

COOPER: Wait, wait. Come here.

What's happening?

ROBY: There's only one -- there's only one made it out alive.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: And there's the fist fighting.

ROBY: But I think the name was Randall Weir (ph).

COOPER: Where...

ROBY: The governor is in there and this big in charge CEO of the mine is apologizing. And it's all -- they did nothing to -- I don't know how this information could come out that this thing (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

COOPER: But where have...

ROBY: There's one person alive and he's en route to the hospital.

COOPER: Where have you gotten this information?

ROBY: From the...


ROBY: From the CEO who's been on the news...

COOPER: You were inside the church?

ROBY: Yes, we were inside the church and...

COOPER: And you said there's fist fighting now?


ROBY: People are screaming, "You're a liar! You lied to us!"

COOPER: Wait, come over here, please.

Stand over here.

ROBY: The misinformation and it's awful.

COOPER: And you kids were in the church, too?


COOPER: And you heard this?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Yes, we tried to run away.

ROBY: We -- I took the kids and we ran out of the church as fast as we can. They're...

COOPER: I can hear yelling now over at the church.

ROBY: Yes, they're screaming and yelling and the police are in a big brawl. And it's -- I don't know how something like this could happen. How -- I dragged the kids out of bed at this time of the morning to celebrate and, you know, this is a -- and it's not true.

So far there's one person and I believe the name is Randal Weir with Big Brick (ph). But it's -- they need to know that, to the best of my knowledge, and I think they said the other 11 couldn't be saved. I don't know if that's for sure that they're perished or not, but I do know only one is coming...

COOPER: This is unbelievable.

ROBY: It's totally -- it's the worst thing that I've ever heard. I don't know how this information could get this far. And now -- we knew something was strange when the governor was coming in with just hugging -- it must be his wife -- but just the look of un -- of total, total disbelief. And what we just heard, it's -- I've never seen anything like it. I mean how -- these people have been, these families have been through so, you know, close to 45 hours now and...

COOPER: I'm completely stunned.

ROBY: It's so -- yes. It's...

COOPER: So you went into the church...

ROBY: Yes, we were in the church...

COOPER: And tell me your name again.

I know we talked earlier.

ROBY: Lynette Roby.

COOPER: Lynette Roby.

ROBY: We were coming and chasing with -- this is Kiki (ph).

COOPER: And Kiki and Travis (ph).

I remember.


ROBY: So, you know, it's -- the nation, everyone needs to know that this is not true. It doesn't mean that the prayers can't be -- the prayers can't still keep coming in, but there's only one. Only one so far has made it out alive.

COOPER: Well, we've been hearing -- we've just been talking to the doctor who's at the hospital and that patient is in critical condition.

ROBY: Yes.

COOPER: What exactly did you hear? What is...

ROBY: He was apologizing. He said that it...

COOPER: This is the governor?


COOPER: Or the CEO of the company?

ROBY: The CEO of the mine.


ROBY: Yes.

COOPER: Yes. So he -- where were you in the church?

ROBY: He -- we were right up front, right up front. We followed the cars coming in. We saw the governor and we were running with the cars and coming in what we appeared was going to be, you know, with the miners. That's why we're here. That's why everybody is here.

And he apologized for the lack of communication and he said that he took total credit for that. And then just people started screaming, "Hypocrites!." And so it's...

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: And then they started running everywhere. And then the next thing you know, we see fists flying everywhere.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: And cops and people and everything is hitting each other. COOPER: Inside the church?

ROBY: Yes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So somehow someone needs to get the right information and, you know, it's a total dishonor to, you know, whatever mining officials are or however the word got out, it's definitely -- it's definitely not true. It's -- there's 11 that apparently did not make it or -- from -- there's one survivor. That's it.

COOPER: Where did you hear that they had not made it? Whose lips did you hear it from?

ROBY: The guy...

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: The coal mine...

ROBY: The one that owns the coal mine. The one that's been giving the press conferences the whole time.

COOPER: And do you remember precisely what he said?

ROBY: That he apologized, there has been errors, there's been miscommunication and he took total responsibility for that.

And then people started screaming, "Hypocrites!" and then he just was trying to get everyone's attention to get past that (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And people were screaming. And they said, "There's only one known survivor, Randal Weir." And I'm not sure if he said the other 11 are deceased, but that's the extent. That's the extent of it. There's only one survivor.


ROBY: So, you know, that...

COOPER: Are you guys OK?

Are you all right?

ROBY: Yes. It's the most awful -- it's unbelievable. It's just total, it's disgraceful. It's awful. But it needs to be known. I mean the story needs to change to not a very, you know, it's taken a turn for...

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: We went from happy to sad to...

COOPER: You went from happy to sad?

ROBY: Yes. Yes.

COOPER: Are you OK, Kiki (ph)?

You seem upset.


COOPER: You're all right?

Let's just try to clarify what we are just hearing.

If you could just stay with us.

What we are hearing, for the first time, and it is, frankly, stunning news, according to this woman, the mine officials have reentered the mine. We told you the governor was on site, as well. We aren't hearing the shouting that we were hearing. But she had heard the mine official telling the people there that the survivor at the hospital is the only survivor.

We're trying to get confirmation on this. Frankly, we simply do not know what the situation is.

What we're seeing, though, is a long line of ambulances. There's a whole bunch of ambulances down there, aren't there? Those are, I assume, the ambulances that were at the mine.

ROBY: And what we appeared to -- we thought we were running and chasing what was going to be wonderful news, because there was the governor in the first SUV, and several others, which all the time we've been -- all this time we've been told of, you know, a miracle. And that's why we're here. And there's no miracle. And it's awful. It's the most awful thing that you could bring your children out to be a part of, to remember in history.

It's just -- it's awful. It's awful.

COOPER: We have a number of people down at the church. We're trying to get information.

But Randi Kaye is standing by, I'm told -- Randi, what are you hearing?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it's been quite a scene here, certainly listening to your reports and talking with that woman there.

We tried to confirm it. They're not letting us inside the church. But I just spoke with a woman, and it turns out that she's saying the same thing. She says that they were just told in the church that there is only one survivor. In fact, it is her son-in- law. His name is Randal McCloy. He's 26 years old. He is the man, according to her, who is now unconscious and being treated at the hospital here.

So, she was told that her son-in-law, Randal McCloy, is the only survivor.

The families here are very, very angry. None of them would talk to the media. There were some four letter words being used as they exited the property here at the Sago Baptist Church. I did hear the word hypocrite being used. The governor has just left. It's certainly not the scene that it was just a couple of hours ago -- Anderson.

COOPER: This is just a stunning development. I mean the news we had been given, all these -- I mean not us -- the news that these families had been given was that the 12 miners were alive. The governor had come out, said miracles do happen.

Did you talk to any other family members? Or did you just try to get out -- were you worried about the safety of your children?

ROBY: I grabbed the children. And we were up front and I grabbed the children and we just pushed our way through, because, at that point, there was approximately, I don't know how many state troopers in green on somebody that had, I don't know, ran up from behind us.

And then several people started running up and screaming, "Hypocrite!" They were screaming. And, "You're liars!" And it just was total chaos.

And we pushed people to get out of there and here we are.

COOPER: We've got a picture of who we believe Randal -- is Randal McCloy.

We're going to put that -- that apparently...

ROBY: He's the youngest (UNINTELLIGIBLE), from what we've been watching on the news, that's...

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: That's the 27-year-old.

ROBY: ... that's the youngest and only survivor.

COOPER: We've been talking to Dr. Long at the hospital, who described the patient they had at the hospital as youngish.

Let's go to Randi, who has more information -- Randi, what do you know?

KAYE: Anderson, we're here -- some of the members of the families from the trapped miners were inside.

They're exiting now.

Can we ask you what you were told inside, ma'am?


KAYE: May we ask you what you were told?


KAYE: Anderson, we're hearing (UNINTELLIGIBLE)... UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Get away from (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Get away from it. Move off the road. Get off the road. Off the road.






KAYE: We're going to be pulled from the mine and now learning that apparently there is only one survivor.

And, Anderson, as we were just confirming -- I talked to that one woman -- she said it was her son-in-law, Randal McCloy, who is at that hospital.

And just to see these families' faces after the joy that they were experiencing just a couple of hours ago, in tears leaving this church that has been their home here for the last 40 hours, ever since that explosion occurred in that mine, Anderson, this is just such, such a terrible scene here -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, we have been waiting for, obviously, statements from mine officials for several hours now. Though, they had told family members several hours ago that 12 miners were found alive. The governor was present for that. The governor had come out giving the thumbs up, said miracles do happen.

That was several hours ago. Hour after hour, we have been waiting for a press conference. We are told now they are going to hold a press conference and it's going to be soon.

We are also seeing a number of other family members leaving here in tears, not even looking up, just leaving here disgusted in tears.

We are going to bring you, of course, this press conference as it happens live.

This is a stunning development and, frankly, we do not know, we cannot confirm what exactly has happened here.

We certainly have a number now of eyewitness reports that seem to be jiving.

Is there anything else that you remember that -- from the moment? I mean what happens now? What happens to this community?

ROBY: Words can't begin to express...

COOPER: I'm sorry, if you could...

ROBY: ... how something like...

COOPER: I'm sorry.

ROBY: Even Shelley Moore Capito got on there and confirmed the survivors, the 12 survivors, Governor Manchin. I mean how can this be broadcast all over the country? I mean I just don't understand how these officials can give false hope and inaccurate information to everyone. I mean that's something that -- you should know what you're talking about before you, you know what I mean, celebrating? And then to rip someone's heart out, it's awful. I've never heard of it.

COOPER: Well, we had just heard, a short time ago, from a doctor who is at the hospital, saying that the communication they've had from the mine is non-existent, that they've had no information about the patient that they have, about whether or not -- what the status of that patient was.

So if the communication to the hospital was bad, one can only imagine how bad the communication is in other places.

ROBY: Certainly.

COOPER: But we are seeing now a number of family members just leaving here, obviously shocked.

Randi Kaye is standing by with some confirmation -- OK, Randi, what do you have?

KAYE: ... at the church.

Tell us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all know more than they do. They've been trying to run you all...


KAYE: ... that are speaking here.

Let's listen in.

This is, apparently, one of the family members whose relatives was one of the trapped miners. She thought he was alive and has now learned he's dead.

QUESTION: How do you spell Merideth, ma'am?


QUESTION: And what was your dad's name?

MERIDETH: My dad's name was Jim Bennett.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: How old was he? MERIDETH: M-E-R-I-D-E-T-H.

QUESTION: How old was your father?

MERIDETH: My dad was 61 years old. And yes, there is concern, you know, because my dad was going to retire in April.

QUESTION: What about concern about the mine previous to that?

MERIDETH: Oh, they'd better close it down.


MERIDETH: It's unsafe. It's unfit. I mean my gosh, 12 miners just lost their lives, you know?

I mean, tell me, would you go in there?

They shut the mines down once. They reopen it, they send miners back. My dad, several times, has gotten called at home saying do not come out because the roof has caved in. We've had (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...


Open the road.


Back up now.

MERIDETH: They pay spotters to do their (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...


Open a hole in the road.

Open a hole.

MERIDETH: Did you break that tape?

Jeff, why don't you break it for her?




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