Some rescued miners say they will seek other work

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- At least some of the miners who spent 77 hours in a mine pit 240 feet underground won't be going back to their old line of work.

"You don't think about the hazards of the job as much when you're doing it ... now I think we've all thought about it, what everybody went through," miner Randy Fogle said at a news conference Monday.

"I don't know if too many of us will go back to what we did do. It put our families through a lot; it was hard on us and it was I think harder on them," said Fogle, a hunk of chewing tobacco in his mouth.

All the men praised the efforts of rescue workers, who quickly pumped air into the pocket where they were trapped, and said they relied on each other to stay alive.

They even found nourishment when Thomas Foy happened upon fellow miner Blaine Mayhugh's lunch inside a dry bucket -- a corned beef sandwich and some Mountain Dew -- and later some Pepsi.

"One guy took a bite and passed it around," said Foy, 51. "I figured we were good for another couple days."

In a rescue that transfixed the nation, all nine miners were pulled safely from the Quecreek Mine in rural western Pennsylvania early Sunday after water from an abandoned mine flooded the shaft where they were working.

A desperate rescue operation with tons of heavy equipment and 18 medical helicopters finally paid off when rescuers reached the miners and pulled them up a narrow shaft, one by one, in a yellow cylindrical capsule.

"What took you guys so long?" the miners said when they spoke to rescuers for the first time.

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