Stay Out! Stay Alive!
Incidents that could have resulted in a fatality, but did not.
Around 10 p.m. Sunday evening, Virginia's Division of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) was notified of a call to the Buchanan County Sheriff's Office from a woman who reported that her 21-year-old son and a 16-year-old friend had entered an abandoned mine near Hurley, Va. Armed only with a flashlight to allegedly obtain mine supplies, the two had been missing approximately five hours.
Local fire department and EMS personnel were dispatched to Laurel Creek Mining Corp., No. 1 mine, and the mine operator was notified. MSHA and DMME personnel responded immediately, and mine rescue teams were placed on standby. While en route to the mine, the Sheriff's office received notification that the two individuals had been found and brought to the surface. Meanwhile, three other individuals apparently had entered the mine to conduct their own search while emergency personnel were responding. The dispatcher's report indicated that all five were out of the mine at 11:34 p.m. No one was injured.
There has been no mining activity at the mine since November 1997. The mine portals were fenced to guard against unauthorized entry, and'Do Not Enter' signs were posted. A portion of the portal fencing had been removed to allow access underground, and the mine's ventilation system was not operating at the time the boys entered the mine. According to the DMME, the trespassers ran the risk of exposure to oxygen-depleted atmospheres, toxic mine gas and unstable roof conditions. (Source: Virginia Division of Mines, Minerals and Energy)