Governor and MEMA hold press conference on recovery - - Jackson, MS

Governor and MEMA hold press conference on recovery efforts in Crystal Springs

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Emmitt Shorter (Source: Family) Emmitt Shorter (Source: Family)
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Governor Phil Bryant and MEMA officials will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. on Monday to update the status of the recovery efforts of the two men trapped in a gravel pit in Crystal Springs. 

Monday, MEMA Executive Director Lee Smithson released a statement on the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency's Facebook page. 

Family for both missing men have identified them as Emmitt Shorter and James "Dee" Hemphill. 

The family for Hemphill said he'd worked in the construction industry for some 20 years.

A statement from the family, provided by a family friend said, "We're asking for continued sincere prayers and ask that they treat this as a rescue mission, not a recovery; not to give up on us. By all means do whatever is necessary to get those guys out".

Sunday, MEMA Public Information Officer, Ray Coleman said, "...The area is so unstable that it is very difficult to dig anything out safely."

Monday, they started pumping water out of the pit where the men became trapped.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is overseeing the operation.

An industrial crane, which was brought Saturday, was unable to recover the two miners. Workers even built a road for the crane.

Green Brothers and MSHA have been in charge of the recovery operation since it happened around 11:30 a.m. June 3.

Copiah County, MEMA, and the Salvation Army have all been helping with the recovery efforts as well.

We're told many of the law enforcement officials in the area do not believe the men were able to survive trapped due to the length of time.

Saturday, friends and family were anxious while still praying for a miracle.

“This is a big tragedy,” said Crystal Springs resident.

EMA and MEMA officials believe the men are buried 10 to 15 feet deep.

“The biggest challenge is the fact that this is something that has never seen happen before and that is challenging because no one knows how to attack to accomplish the goal,” said Emergency Management Director Randle Drane.

“A lot of people are concerned. People have been calling me and it is just sad,” said Crystal Springs resident.

“He was a nice young man, raised real well. Hardworking and he was real respectable,” said another family friend.

“Every time I would see him he was always on the move and laughing at something,” said family friend.

Emergency officials said they don't know how long the recovery effort could take.

We will continue to update this story as soon as we get more information.

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