Thursday, May 15, 2003

Miner buried alive gets out

By Roger Alford
The Associated Press

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. - A Kentucky coal miner who spent more than nine hours buried alive before being freed Wednesday morning said he spent most of the time praying and thinking about his family.

"I thought I was a goner," Charlie Jones said from the hospital where he was taken after rescue crews pulled him out of the remote mine beneath a mountain in southeastern Kentucky. "I knew that whole mountain was on top of me."

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said a 17-foot-thick rock that may have weighed hundreds of tons collapsed about 4 p.m. Tuesday onto a small vehicle that Jones, 41, was using to haul coal out of the mine. The machine essentially served as a temporary burial vault for the trapped miner until he was freed.

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