CHARLESTON - A recovery team entered a Boone County mine Sept. 4 to search for a man reported missing from the area but officials say that impassable conditions around 80 feet in turned them back and ended the effort.
The team of W.Va. Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training (MHS&T) personnel and representatives of Blackhawk Mining found no sign of James Wesley "Wes" Blackburn at that portion of Blackhawk Mining's Lightfoot #1 mine, searched Wednesday in Wharton.
Wednesday's attempt resulted from new information received by the West Virginia State Police as it continues to investigate the disappearance of Blackburn, 38, of Oceana in Wyoming County. The man's family reported him missing in November 2018.
The mine has been out of operation for more than 20 years. On Wednesday morning, MHS&T breached a sealed entrance with power tools. The team entered the mine at about 11 a.m. but impassable conditions turned them back after about a half hour.
Rescue teams previously searched other areas of the mine complex when Blackburn was first reported missing, but hazardous conditions ended those efforts without result.