January 4, 2006 at 12:44 PM CST - Updated July 27 at 9:35 PM
Tallmansville, W.Va. (AP) - Jubilation has turned to agony in the coal-mining town of Tallmansville, West Virginia, with word of a false report that 12 trapped coal miners had been found alive.
The coal company president now says there was only one survivor. All eleven others, plus another miner found earlier, are dead.
Ben Hatfield, president of the International Coal Group, told reporters this morning that initial reports from a rescue team indicated there were "multiple survivors." He says that turned out to wrong, blaming a "miscommunication." Hatfield says the rumor of survivors "spread like wildfire" but notes that mine officials had never confirmed it.
Relatives had broken out in screams of joy when word of a rescue came from West Virginia's governor. That has now been replaced by abject sorrow and anger.
The lone survivor is identified as Randal McCloy. His condition is listed as critical.