The miracle rescue of nine miners after 77 hours trapped more than 200 feet below ground, that united not only this area but the entire nation just months after the September 11th terrorist attacks, was celebrated Saturday at the rescue site ahead of its 20th anniversary.
The living miners joined their rescuers and former governor Mark Schweiker on Saturday to recall the sobering events of July 24-28, 2002, and the amazing rescue. It was said that this was the first time that some survivors heard about what their rescue mission actually looked like from above, others compared their ordeal to what happened.
“The biggest thing was that flight 93 was over the hill, and everybody died,” said John Unger, one of the nine men rescued. “Here, everybody lived, all 18 of us, nine that got out before us, and then we got out, and nobody was hurt, nobody got hurt, and it was a complete miracle that we’re all here.”
“It’s overwhelming it really is,” said Bill Arnold, Director of the Quecreek Mine Rescue Site. “I can remember right after the rescue thinking, people will go back to their normal routines and forget about this within days, and it’s now been 20 years and we’re still growing.”
“To see so many people that have come from as far away as Virginia and South Carolina and who have said you know this is something that’s monumental in my life and I feel compelled to go back and what a great union.”
Leading up to the Anniversary of the miraculous rescue throughout the week
We’ll continue to hear from those involved and their first-hand accounts of the events.