This was the sequence of events at Sago Mine Tuesday night and early Wednesday, according to International Coal Group officials Ben Hatfield, president and CEO, and Gene Kitts, senior vice president, who were in the command room:‘12 are alive’11:45 p.m.: The mine command center received a report that “12 are alive” and the miners were leaving the section of the mine where they were found.About 30 people in the command center heard the transmission and word spread quickly to the miners’ families, who immediately started celebrating. The command center began asking the state for 12 ambulances, EMTs and equipment.
The transmission had come from the “fresh air base,” which was relaying a message it had gotten from rescue workers through radios on their breathing masks, using code words to indicate dead or living miners.‘The survivor’12:30 a.m.: The command center received its next report: “The survivor” — the lone survivor — had reached the fresh air base. This transmission came when rescue workers were able to take off their breathing masks and make their own report to the command center.The command center learned that the other 11 miners appeared to be dead. One miner’s body had been found earlier Tuesday night. The command center told State Police to tell clergy to tell the families that the celebration was premature. The message did not reach the families.Rescue teams dispatched1:48 a.m.: The command center, holding out hope that the 11 miners were only comatose, dispatched four rescue teams with EMTs to confirm whether the miners were dead or needed medical care.Survivor’s ID confirmed2:15 a.m.: Surviving miner Randal McCloy Jr.’s identity was confirmed as he reached the hospital.Families notifiedBetween 2:30 and 3 a.m.: Jubilant families were notified that their loved ones were dead.