Updated Dec 12, 2018 10:41 PM EST
WHITESVILLE, W.Va. — Three people who went missing in a West Virginia mine have been located, the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training said in a statement Wednesday. Efforts are underway now to bring the individuals to the surface where they will be transported for medical treatment.
CBS News’ Chip Reid reported there was screaming from the building where the family members of the missing miners had been gathered all day when they learned 31-year-old Erica Treadway, 21-year-old Cody Beverly and 25-year-old Kayla Williams had been found alive.
It wasn’t clear why they entered the mine on Saturday — and dozens of rescue workers spent the last 4 days searching the miles of maze-like tunnels.
“They got all three,” said Kayla Williams’ father Randall. “They got a few medical conditions, but they’re going to be OK.”
“He came in before and he was crying … and he said, ‘these are tears of joy,'” said Kayla’s sister Camelia Williams.
Randall said he thought “she’s alive … I got my baby back” when he heard the news.
“I just thought I can’t imagine how happy and relief and how life-changing it is to see a light coming towards her or anything. They’re still alive,” Camelia said.
According to Eugene White, the director of the Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, they located the first of the three people trapped around 6 p.m.and then located the other two together around 6:30 p.m.
“This is an outcome that I really truly in my heard didn’t think would happen and these guys, they just kept digging,” said West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.
Eddie Williams, 43, is Kayla’s cousin and was originally with the group. He emerged from the abandoned mine alone Monday night and had been assisting the dozens of rescue workers.
It is not uncommon in this financially strapped region for people to risk their lives by entering old mines to take and later sell copper wiring.
“They do whatever they can do to make money if they ain’t got a job. That copper in there, that’s what happens,” said Randall Williams. “I know that’s why she went in there.”
One mystery that officials have not yet explained, is how Williams became separated from the other three and how he managed to escape from the mine alone.
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