The Latest: Search ends for man in old West Virginia mine

AP News
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Posted: Sep 01, 2016 7:53 PM

KEYSTONE, W.Va. (AP) — The Latest on the search for a West Virginia man missing inside an abandoned coal mine (all times local):

7:25 p.m.

The family of a man missing inside an abandoned West Virginia coal mine say the search has ended with no sign of him.

Relatives of 30-year-old Clay Epperly of Keystone told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (http://bit.ly/2c5chRT ) on Thursday that the mine will be sealed.

Sgt. R.A. Daniel of the West Virginia State Police Welch Detachment also confirmed to the newspaper that the search was over.

Epperly's family said rescue crews who had been searching since Tuesday encountered too many dangerous situations underground to continue the search. Efforts had to be suspended Wednesday as oxygen in the mine dropped to dangerous levels.

Giant fans were brought in to blow fresh air into the mine, and rescue crews had gone back in Thursday afternoon.

Epperly and three friends entered the mine Monday night. Epperly became separated from the group, and the friends went back into the mine looking for him about 2 a.m. Tuesday. Rescue volunteers began searching later Tuesday.

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12:25 p.m.

The search for a man trapped in an abandoned West Virginia coal mine is expected to resume soon.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports (http://bit.ly/2ctv1ML) that efforts to find 30-year-old Clay Epperly were halted Wednesday as oxygen levels in the mine in McDowell County dropped dangerously low. Giant fans were moved onto the site to help improve air quality and make conditions safer for rescue workers.

Epperly and three friends entered the mine Monday night. Epperly became separated from the group, and the friends went back into the mine looking for him about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

The search by rescue volunteers started later Tuesday morning.

Southern Mines COO Tom Lusk says every effort is being made to find him.

The men could face charges, including felony breaking and entry.

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Information from: Bluefield Daily Telegraph, http://www.bdtonline.com