After spending days trapped in an abandoned coal mine in West Virginia, three people were found and rescued Wednesday evening, authorities said.
Rescue workers had searched for the people since early Sunday, after an abandoned all-terrain vehicle was found outside the inactive Rock House Powellton mine near the small community of Clear Creek, about 30 miles southeast of Charleston.
At first, four people were trapped inside. But one of them, Eddie Williams, managed to get out Monday and told the authorities that Kayla Williams, 25, Erica Treadway, 31, and Cody Beverly, 21, were still inside.
“Many prayers were answered when the one individual exited the mine with information about where the others were located,” Gov. Jim Justice said in a statement at the time.
The governor has warned people to avoid abandoned mines. “I cannot stress enough how dangerous these abandoned mines are and how hazardous they are to humans,” he said.
“The reason they’re in there is to get copper,” Randy Williams, Kayla Williams’ father, told ABC News during the search. “A couple years ago it was up to almost $4 a pound. You could go into a mine and make $1,000 a day.”
As friends and family of the missing people worried that time — or oxygen — was running out, rescue workers used fans to circulate air within the mine shaft, and pumps to remove water.
On Wednesday evening, after rescue teams had moved 4,000 feet into the mine, the authorities announced that the three people had been found alive. A spokeswoman for the Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training said that all three had been removed from the mine and were being taken for medical treatment.
The search-and-rescue operation was coordinated by officials with the West Virginia State Police, the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, the West Virginia National Guard and the sheriffs’ offices in Raleigh and Boone counties.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.