Men Freed after Being Trapped in Kentucky Mine

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Three men were rescued Monday after being stranded for 14 hours in a southeastern Kentucky coal mine.

A partial collapse at the mine entrance trapped them underground.

"The men were nearing the end of their shift when it happened," said Eddie Starks, an official with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. Starks said the men used their helmet-mounted headlamps one at a time to conserve power.

Water pouring in from a drainage ditch swollen with rain heightened concerns for the men's safety.

Rescue crews spent a full day pumping the water out of the mine allowing the men to walk out.

"All three miners are out. They're fine. Everybody is safe. No injuries," said C.K. Lane, chief operating officer with James River Coal, the Richmond, Va.-based company that owns the mine near Middlesboro. "We pumped the water down, and they were able to walk through the water and walk on outside."

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said the "swift and persistent action" by the company and state, local and federal employees ended the day with a positive result. She said she was looking forward to talking to the mine workers Tuesday.

Though trapped 600 feet underground, the men were in a dry location and had food and blankets.

Officials say the miners are in good condition after being checked out at a nearby hospital.

State and federal regulators issued a closure order for the entire mine after the incident Monday in order to determine how much damage the water caused the mine and the equipment.

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