Our Story: 77 Hours That Tested Our Friendship and Our Faith - The nation stopped and held its collective breath as word spread of the plight of the nine Pennsylvania coal miners who where trapped underground for 77 hours. Nine miners were below when water trapped in an adjacent mine burst through the wall of the new mine they were working. As the air grew thinner and the men grew colder, they listened to the water rising around them in the honeycomb of coal veins. Sitting in a small air pocket, the men wrote farewell notes to their families and sealed them in a lunch bucket. On the surface, the rescue effort became hampered when a special drill bit snapped. The drill would lay idle for 14 hours, effectively halting the rescue, as a replacement was brought in. Hope and despondency alternated, as the determined rescue team made progress, then hit setbacks. Below ground, standing in water and chilling temperatures, the men rode the same waves of hope and despair, all in complete darkness. The successful rescue of the Nine for Nine miners lifted the spirits of an entire nation. Now everyone can hear the complete story of this harrowing accident -- how these men and their families had the strength and bravery it took to survive the incredible ordeal, and of the frantic efforts to save them.
Nine men trapped in the earth. Flood waters steadily rising into their tiny refuge. Seventy-seven excruciating hours in complete darkness. One hour that tells it all. On Wednesday, August 28 from 9-10 PM (ET/PT), the Discovery Channel presents television's first full account of the nine miners' horrifying story of being trapped 240 feet down in a coal mine, and the amazing rescue effort that was nothing short of a miracle.
Produced for the Discovery Channel by NBC News Productions, the world premiere documentary MIRACLE AT THE MINE with Stone Phillips is a riveting blow-by-blow account, brought to viewers just one month after the hellish three days that grabbed America's attention. NBC correspondent Stone Phillips helps the miners share candid and emotional memories of how they accidentally punched through a wall of a flooded and abandoned mine; signaled others to safety; fought their way through the unrelenting deluge to higher ground; sustained themselves through darkness and despair in cramped, cold, wet tunnels; and finally reunited joyfully with their families and friends. The miners who made it out ahead of the flood also describe their split-second decisions when water exploded through the mine at 200,000 gallons per minute.
News footage and computer graphics show the harrowing story, bringing viewers into the dark, dank, cramped tunnels through which the miners scrambled to an air pocket. Filling out details above ground, MIRACLE AT THE MINE with Stone Phillips features members of the rescue team, including Joe Sbaffoni, a deep mine safety expert for Pennsylvania; Kevin Stricklin and John Urosek of the U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration; and David Hess,
Pennsylvania's secretary of environmental protection. Bill Arnold, a dairy farmer who pitched in when rescuers drilled down to the miners on his land, and Sally Shoyer, head of the ladies auxiliary, recall the anxious hours of waiting -- as families lived through the nightmarish few days at the local firehouse.
The rescued miners -- nine for nine -- who appear in MIRACLE AT THE MINE with Stone Phillips include:
Randy Fogle: 44 years old, miner for 22-1/2 years; the crew chief
Thomas Foy: 52 years old, miner for 29 years
Dennis Hall: 48 years old, miner for 28 years
Ron Hileman : 49 years old, miner 27 years
Blaine Mayhugh: 31 years old, miner for 5-1/2 years
John Phillip: 36 years old, miner for 12 years
Mark Popernack: 41 years old, miner for 21 years
Bob Pugh: 50 years old, miner for 31 years
John Unger: 52 years old, miner for 28 years
By reliving the suspense with the miners and their saviors, MIRACLE AT THE MINE with Stone Phillips tells an inspiring story of bedrock American values - - of faith, grit and the kind of heartfelt community action that can make miracles out of coal mines.
MIRACLE AT THE MINE with Stone Phillips is produced for the Discovery Channel by NBC News Productions; Carol Williams is executive producer and Kathy Abbott and Betsy Wagner are producers. For Discovery Channel, Stephen Reverand is executive producer and Clark Bunting is executive in charge of production.