adBlockCheck

Dozens Trapped In Candlelight Vigil For Coal Miners

Top Headlines

Recent News

What’s Inside Trump’s Tax Returns

Donald Trump’s aides have confirmed that the Republican presidential nominee will not release his tax returns despite numerous public calls for him to honor the expectation of transparency for presidential hopefuls. Here are some of the potentially damning contents that Trump prefers not to release to the public

NASA Launches First Cordless Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—In what experts are calling a breakthrough achievement that is poised to revolutionize American space exploration and telecommunications, NASA announced Friday it has successfully launched its first cordless satellite into orbit.

Hillary Clinton Holds Infant Grandson Upside Down By Ankle In Front Of Convention Crowd

‘Family,’ Candidate Says

PHILADELPHIA—Seeking to make her case to the nation’s voters as she accepted her party’s presidential nomination Thursday night, Hillary Clinton reportedly began her headlining address at the Democratic National Convention by holding her infant grandson, Aidan, upside down by his ankle and firmly intoning the word “Family” in front of the assembled crowd.

Hillary Clinton Waiting In Wings Of Stage Since 6 A.M. For DNC Speech

PHILADELPHIA—Saying she arrived hours before any of the members of the production crew, sources confirmed Thursday that presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has been waiting in the wings of the Wells Fargo Center stage since six o’clock this morning to deliver her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Depressed, Butter-Covered Tom Vilsack Enters Sixth Day Of Corn Bender After Losing VP Spot

WASHINGTON—Saying she has grown increasingly concerned about her husband’s mental and physical well-being since last Friday, Christie Vilsack, the wife of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, told reporters Thursday that the despondent, butter-covered cabinet member has entered the sixth day of a destructive corn bender after being passed over for the Democratic vice presidential spot.

Superfoods: Myth Vs. Fact

Though the media often heralds certain foods as cancer-fighting or immune-building, many of these claims don’t hold up to scientific scrutiny. The Onion separates the myths from the facts regarding so-called superfoods

Cannon Overshoots Tim Kaine Across Wells Fargo Center

PHILADELPHIA—Noting that the vice presidential nominee had been launched nearly 100 feet into the air during his entrance into the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, sources reported that the cannon at the back of the Wells Fargo Center had accidentally overshot Tim Kaine across the arena, sending him crashing to the stage several dozen feet beyond the erected safety net.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

Dozens Trapped In Candlelight Vigil For Coal Miners

HARLAN COUNTY, KY—A candlelight vigil Tuesday night outside the Drum Ridge mine, where eight coal miners are believed to be confined, left an estimated 55 residents trapped with no means of socially acceptable escape.

Attendees said they had originally hoped that the vigil would last "two or three hours at most." But as the gathering stretched into its fourth hour in freezing weather with no word of the miners' fate, their faith began to waver.

Area residents attempt to burn through their votive candle supply in an attempt to escape the vigil.

"I've been here a long time lending my emotional support, and I don't see any way out," Evarts resident Rebecca Sayles said. "I'm praying they find those men very, very soon."

With no food, a dwindling supply of hot coffee, the mine office's restrooms padlocked for the night, and the sole heat source the flickering flames of votive candles, hope was fading fast for a positive conclusion, or even just a conclusion, to the vigil.

"I can't believe it's only 10:30 p.m.," said South Wallins resident Pat Meacham, who said he had checked his watch nearly two dozen times since arriving. "The seconds, they feel like minutes, and the minutes, like hours. There's no end in sight."

Candlelight-vigil participants report that the presence of 28 relatives of the trapped miners is preventing an easy exit. One attendant noted that many family members were inadvertently blocking every route to the parking lot.

Many vigil participants reported a "suffocating" atmosphere, one worsened by the singing of church hymns and emotionally charged interactions with the miners' loved ones.

Though they were aware of the dangerous emotional conditions at vigils, many participants said they had ignored the warnings.

"I've been here four hours," said local realtor Margaret Clayton . "Every time I try to walk over to Mrs. Knauer to tell her goodnight, she has this 'the father of my children is trapped 350 feet underground' look on her face, and I just can't do it."

Attendees report that they have been "racking their brains," trying to think of a way to get out.

"The Stevens used the 'leaving to get more candles' tactic," local business owner Mark Peters said. "That was two hours ago, and I have faith that they were successful."

He added: "Right now, I'm praying for a miracle, such as an urgent phone call."

Near the five-hour mark, many attendees said they began to wonder about the rules, if any, of candlelight-vigil etiquette. Some were uncertain whether they could leave once news of the miners' fate was delivered, or if they would have to first wait for the emergence of a miner.

"I don't think I can leave until they find at least one of the miners," said gas station attendant Stuart Jenkins, who claimed that he was going to "pass out" if he didn't get to eat soon. "Maybe two, if the first one brought out is dead."

After the arrival of the WHAS-11 I-Team news van at approximately 11:30 p.m., the remaining vigil attendees reported that any hope for escape had been eliminated.

"I just want to go home," Harlan County resident Susan Rafferty said. "But now I'm cornered in every direction by the bereaved, and the whole state is watching."

Rescue crews, working feverishly to reach the trapped miners, asked to be allowed to continue their rescue operation without interruption.

"We understand that many in attendance are impatient," rescue worker Brian Turner said. "However, we can't stop every two minutes to answer questions about what kind of progress we're making, or how long we think it'll take to bring a drill from out of town, or what time the liquor store down the road closes."

When local pastor Michael Sloane arrived with 20 boxes of additional candles at approximately 12:20 a.m., adding untold hours to the vigil, one participant enjoyed a unique perspective. Ron Chernow, who had managed to escape from the candlelight vigil three hours earlier through a small opening in the emotional wreckage, spoke from his warm couch as he watched the live coverage on WHAS-11.

"My heart goes out to the victims of this awful situation," he said.

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close