Day four in search for missing miners - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Day four in search for missing miners

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
COPIAH COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A steady stream of equipment went into the Green Brothers Gravel Company on Monday as federal authorities lead a search for two men missing since a mine collapse.

The men have been identified as Emmitt Shorter and James "Dee" Hemphill. The men were buried after a gravel pit they were working in had a landslide Friday afternoon.

Monday, MEMA officials began pumping water from the gravel pit where Shorter and James Hemphill were buried.  This after an industrial crane brought in over the weekend proved not to provide much help.  

"I'm sure for the parents that are in there now it's got to be horrible," said Patti Granger, a relative of Hemphill. " I can't even imagine."

Family members are still being allowed to monitor the recovery efforts, many remaining prayerful. Some said the workers knew how dangerous their job was. 

"As many days he came out there and you just thank God he didn't get killed that day," said Amid Granger, Hemphill's stepdaughter. " His biggest fear came true and ours too and it ain't right."

Governor Phil Bryant met with the victims' families and searchers and encouraged them all not to give up hope.  

"I can only imagine, and can only again stress our sympathy and prayers to those dear family members that have kept this vigil. How heartbreaking it must be," said Governor Bryant during an afternoon press conference.

Searchers say this recovery mission is unprecedented.  The conditions of this mining accident are like nothing seen before according to experts.

"It had the consistency of quicksand," said MEMA Director Lee Smithson. "There hadn't been that, we can go and find any kind of rescue operation involving a track hoe and an articulated dump truck in that kind of consistency."

How the collapse happened is unknown. Owners of Green Brothers are now bearing the responsibility of a tragedy. 

Norman Ford, an employee at Green Brothers gave a statement during the afternoon press conference saying, "Please continue to ask for comfort for these families and strength for us to press for the only mission that matters," said company spokesman Norman Ford. "The recovery of our guys and their loved ones."

Officials with MEMA say they are having to bring in equipment from out of state to aid in the recovery efforts.  Lights have also been brought in to the site where hundreds of responders will work around the clock in the recovery efforts.

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