CommunityPam's House Blend

Getting it wrong in the worst way

Only one miner survived out of the 12 still known to be trapped overnight. The mining company knew this for three hours, letting families believe something that the company knew not to be true.

In a stunning and heartbreaking reversal, family members were told early Wednesday that 11 of the 12 trapped coal miners found were dead three hours after they began celebrating news that they were alive.

It was deemed a “miscommunication.”

The news spread after people overheard cell phone calls, he said. In reality, rescuers had only confirmed finding 12 miners and were checking their vital signs. At least two family members in the church said they received cell phone calls from a mine foreman.

“That information spread like wildfire, because it had come from the command center,” he said.

Three hours later, Hatfield told the families that “there had been a lack of communication, that what we were told was wrong and that only one survived,” said John Groves, whose brother Jerry Groves was one of the trapped miners.

“There was no apology. There was no nothing. It was immediately out the door,” said Nick Helms, son of miner Terry Helms.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding