WHARTON, W.Va. — The resumed search for a missing Wyoming County man in a Boone County mine lasted only briefly before officials decided conditions were too dangerous to continue.
A team from the state office of Miners’ Health, Safety, and Training entered the old Blackhawk Mining operation near Wharton around 11 a.m. Wednesday after State Police developed new information in the search for Wes Blackburn, 38, of Oceana. Officials say the team made it about 80 feet into the mine before finding the conditions impassable and ended the search effort.
Officials breached a sealed mine entrance which had previously not been explored when Blackburn was first reported missing back in November of 2018. Blackburn and two others entered the mine to look for copper. The other two managed to get out and were arrested. They told authorities while underground they became separated from Blackburn and believed he was still inside.
The old mine had been sealed since 1998. State officials called off the search last November in another section after determining conditions underground were unsafe for rescue teams at that time as well.
The investigation into Blackburn’s disappearance continues, but mine safety officials have no plans to send search teams back underground to continue the search effort.