The father of a woman found alive after spending days in an underground coal mine in West Virginia says his daughter went into the mine in search of copper.
Randall Williams told CBS News that people in the region do "whatever they can do to make money if they ain't got a job." It's not uncommon for people in the area to enter abandoned mines in search of copper to sell.
His daughter and two others were found Wednesday inside Elk Run Coal's Rock House Powellton mine near Clear Creek. TV news video later showed them emerging from an ambulance and walking into a hospital escorted by law officers and rescue workers.
The Raleigh County Sheriff's Office had identified them as Kayla Williams, 25, of Artie; Erica Treadway, 31, of Pax; and Cody Beverly, 21, of Dorothy. They had been missing since Saturday. A fourth person, Eddie Williams, 43, of Artie, walked out of the mine Monday. An abandoned ATV the four were believed to be riding was found near the mine's entrance.
The Register-Herald of Beckley, West Virginia, reported Wednesday that Williams' aunt, Sandra Scarbro of Clear Creek, said, "We got our Christmas miracle."
She added, "All we really know is she's alive, and we're so thankful that she's out and that they're all out. We appreciate everybody in the community, the governor and rescuers, everything everybody has done."
Scarbro said Williams was conscious when rescuers found her in the mine.
Williams' cousin by marriage, Lou Ellen Williams, said the family is "just so happy and relieved."
"I'm tickled that they're all OK," she said. "They said they are battered, but they're alive. That's all that matters."
Crews had used fans to move fresh air into the mine while pumps cleared some standing water inside the mine but the water levels remained too high and hampered search efforts.
According to the mine safety office, coal has not been mined at the underground location for two years.