The latest West Virginia mine disaster became a tragedy of reporting errors.

"It's a miracle. They're alive," came the cries from Sago Baptist Church about midnight, near the coal mine where 13 miners have been trapped two miles back in the earth for more than 40 hours.

Hundreds of family members celebrated with news reporters, although one miner had been confirmed dead in the shaft Tuesday evening.

The mis-information spread quickly to the dozens of major media outlets camped-out in Upshur County, to only hear the official information later this morning that twelve had died, with one lone, surviving miner rushed to WVU hospital.

He is in critical condition, unconscious.

After rescuers found the first body Tuesday, hopes seemed to be fading quickly, but then the ill-informed "miracle" announcement spread through the crowd and TV reporters.

Although the coal company was holding frequent up-front news conferences, they did not appear to make any "official" pronouncement, nor did Gov. Joe Manchin appear.

Manchin was in the church when the "miracle" announcement spread, and he said he was elated about the "good news," but asked his associate if there had been official word.

Manchin said his associate told him that no official announcement had been made. The governor then drove to the mine portal to find out what was going on.

It was a sad, emotionally draining night.

Hur Herald ©from Sunny Cal
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