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Sago Mine Rescuer Admits Giving False Hope

A rescuer testifying at a public hearing into West Virginia's Sago mine disaster admits to mistakenly saying the trapped miners were alive, when in fact the sole survivor had been located. The rescuer nearly broke down while describing finding the dead miners.

International Coal Group says the accident was likely due to a lightning strike that caused an explosion, sealing 13 men in the mine. The early word that the trapped men were alive elated families and relatives, who later discovered that all but one had died.

Rescue worker Bill Tucker said in the hearings, being held in Buckhannon, W.Va., that he may have said "They're alive" during the confusion of finding a survivor. He apologized to the dead men's families, who have since released a statement, saying they don't hold Tucker responsible.

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Frank Langfitt is NPR's London correspondent. He covers the UK and Ireland, as well as stories elsewhere in Europe.