(NBC) - Rescue crews began working their way through a West Virginia coal mine early Thursday in search of four miners missing.
"Right now we're in rescue mode," said West Virginia Gov. Joe Machin.
As the frantic rescue effort continues in the mountains of West Virginia, we are learning more now about what happened inside the Upper Big Branch Mine at the time of the blast.
"It became very severe wind, dust dirt debris blowing, I put my head down, I couldn't see," said miner and blast survivor Stanley Stewart.
Stanley Stewart had just started his shift.
As he made his way back to the surface and safety, it quickly became clear dozens of his friends had not.
"These guys who are still in there. They're the ones. Some are my really good buddies, people don't understand the camaraderie between miners," said Stewart.
A bond that pulled close to 300 into the streets late Wednesday
Many in the reflective suits worn by miners.
Their silent march, in memory of those lost and the four still missing.
"It's like what they said we're generations of coal miners and for everybody to know how close knit our community is, it's amazing," said one woman.
A strength they have come to rely on as so many in Raleigh County continue to struggle through this tragedy.