LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Reuters) - A state official said that three miners trapped all day on Monday by high water in an underground coal mine in southeastern Kentucky escaped unharmed in the evening as water levels fell.
The three "walked out through the receding water at 8:22 p.m.," said Dick Brown, spokesman for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.
The flooding in the mine near Middlesboro, Ky., which is owned by the Bell County Coal Corporation, was caused by an overnight rainstorm that dumped 4-6 inches of rain in the area, Brown said.
The miners were in an elevated area above the water, about 600 feet from the entrance. They remained in phone contact with the mine's command center throughout the day, Brown said.
Brown said his office had been contacted about the incident at about 8:30 a.m. on Monday and rescue teams went to work quickly with pumps to remove the water.
(Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Additional reporting by Steve Robrahn in Louisville; Editing by Greg McCune and Peter Bohan)