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Osias: Tide has turned for mine families

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CNN correspondent Kimberly Osias

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West Virginia
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Health and Safety at Work
Disasters (General)

TALLMANSVILLE, West Virginia (CNN) -- Rescuers searched Tuesday for 13 men trapped in a darkened coal mine, trying to find a sign of the miners more than a day after an explosion left them trapped.

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer spoke Tuesday afternoon with correspondent Kimberly Osias about the the mood of hundreds of family members gathered Tuesday at the Sago Baptist Church.

OSIAS: The church normally holds 300 people. It's packed, about 400 or 500 or so. Now, the media is actually cordoned off, not allowed to enter there. That is really sort of a safe haven, if you will, for these families.

But I have been speaking with them. And what they tell me is, really, the tide has turned.

There's been a tremendous amount of sadness.

Now it has really shifted to anger, anger at the International Coal Group, the company, saying they are not giving them answers fast enough, and they are not doing enough down there [at the mine].

Now, this is very interesting. Of course, those that have been following this story know that there were six miners [who] did escape [Monday] to safety after that explosion.

They were able to get out. Well, I am told by one of the family members that I spoke to that one of those men actually saw a ball of fire and ... was almost blinded by it and still hasn't recovered.

But he is so angry at these folks for what he believes is sort of dragging their feet, that he wants to get back down in that mine.

Now, of course, these [rescue crews] are very highly trained. And the other miners can't just go in there.

I also spoke to another family member who knows [trapped miners] Fred Ware, Marty Bennett, and Junior Hamner. And they say [that] as these hours tick on, it just seems like an eternity.

BLITZER: Are there people there who are helping them cope with this horrible ordeal?

OSIAS: Yes. ... As they go outside, they sort of take a walk. And some of these families ... are going through all different phases of emotions....

There are counselors on hand. They are ready to sit down and speak with them.

I spoke to one woman who had availed herself of that opportunity....

These are sort of roller-coaster emotions that these families, as you can well imagine, are feeling right now.

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