BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — The Boone County Sheriff’s Office released the name of the man who may be inside an abandoned mine.
Wes Blackburn is the man being sought by law enforcement, Chief Deputy Chad Barker said.
“At this time, we are unsure if he is inside the mine or not and the investigation is active with law enforcement, company officials and state mine investigators,” Barker said in an email.
West Virginia mine safety officials have been trying to determine whether to send in a crew to search for a man who could be in the mine, located near Wharton. The former mine was sealed and had been closed for several decades.
Samantha Smith, director of marketing and communications for the state Department of Commerce, confirmed Wednesday that one man was arrested after coming out of the mine and are unsure whether the second man, identified by the sheriff’s office as Blackburn, is still in the mine.
Officials said they are not sure if the man is in the mine or could be somewhere else in the community. They are considering whether it is worth going into the mine with the potential danger for rescuers.
“Law enforcement is currently working a few leads,” Smith said. “Officials are trying to exhaust all possibilities that exist above ground to locate the man before making the decision to mobilize a mine rescue team to go underground.”
The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training is evaluating the situation.