MONTCOAL, W.Va. (AP) - Authorities say air quality is good enough to allow crews to search for four men missing in a West Virginia coal mine for more than two days since a blast killed 25 miners.
A federal safety official says crews plan to go into the Upper Big Branch mine by about 4:30 a.m. Thursday. He says 32 team members are being briefed.
Officials are holding out hope that the miners have somehow survived the explosion and escaped into airtight chambers with enough food, water and air to survive for up to four days.
Authorities also want to recover 18 bodies of the known dead from the mine owned by Massey Energy Co.
Ventilation shafts that crews drilled allowed lethal carbon monoxide and highly explosive hydrogen and methane levels to drop.