Jan. 4, 2006 —*Family members and friends of 12 men who died in a mine collapse in West Virginia are furious with officials for what is being called a "miscommunication."
Late last night, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin announced that 11 or 12 of the miners who had been trapped by a blast early Monday morning had survived, triggering widespread jubilation in the close-knit mining community of Tallmansville....
Somehow, there was an awful miscommunication: Rescuers had not confirmed that 12 were alive, but that 12 were found and that they were being checked for vital signs.
"They didn't have any certainties, and the time has elapsed because they were trying to get more information before giving information that was wrong or erroneous," said Manchin, about why the families were not given accurate information right after the mistake was made.
Hatfield blamed the wrong information on a "miscommunication."...
Family members are demanding answers.
"I call this injustice," said Ann Meredith, a relative of a miner. "I will tell you right here now, I am going to sue."
The sadness turned to rage with some of the community members turning on officials. There were reports of fistfights. A SWAT team and about 12 state police officers waited nearby. A Red Cross volunteer, Tamila Swiger, said some people were experiencing nervous breakdowns and panic attacks.
"Tell us our families are coming out alive and then one of them comes out and the rest of them dead," said Daniele Bennett, whose father was killed in the mine. "That's not even right."