May 2018 Mine Disaster Anniversaries

<< Previous

Next >>
January    February    March    April    May    June    July    August    September    October    November    December
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

View the planets for this day1900
Winter Quarters
Mine Explosion
Scofield, UT
No. Killed - 200

View the planets for this day1907
Mine Explosion
Scarbro, WV
No. Killed - 16


View the planets for this day1972
Mine Fire
Kellogg, ID
No. Killed - 91


View the planets for this day1910
Palos No. 3
Mine Explosion
Palos, AL
No. Killed - 84

View the planets for this day1923
Mine Explosion
Aguilar, CO
No. Killed - 10

Mine Explosion
LaFollette, TN
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1889
Kaska William
Hoisting Accident
Middleport, PA
No. Killed - 10

View the planets for this day1945
Sunnyside No. 1
Mine Explosion
Sunnyside, UT
No. Killed - 23


View the planets for this day1892
Mine Explosion
Roslyn, WA
No. Killed - 45


View the planets for this day1943
Praco No. 10
Mine Explosion
Praco, AL
No. Killed - 12

View the planets for this day1904
Big Muddy

Herrin, IL
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1942
Christopher 3
Mine Explosion
Osage, WV
No. Killed - 56

View the planets for this day1908
Mount Lookout
Mine Explosion
Wyoming, PA
No. Killed - 12


View the planets for this day1893
Red Jacket Shaft
Hoisting Accident
Calumet, MI
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1854
English Coal Pit
Mine Explosion
New Richmond, VA
No. Killed - 20

View the planets for this day1890
Jersey No. 8
Mine Explosion
Ashley, PA
No. Killed - 26

View the planets for this day1901
Mine Explosion
Farmington, WV
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1913

Mine Explosion
Belle Valley, OH
No. Killed - 15


View the planets for this day1928
Mather No. 1
Mine Explosion
Mather, PA
No. Killed - 195

View the planets for this day1902
Mine Explosion
Coal Creek, TN
No. Killed - 184


View the planets for this day1918
Mine Fire
Charleston, WV
No. Killed - 13


View the planets for this day1928
Mine No. 1
Mine Explosion
Yukon, WV
No. Killed - 17

View the planets for this day1941
Panhandle No. 2
Mine Explosion
Bicknell, IN
No. Killed - 14

View the planets for this day1891
Pratt No. 1 Shaft
Mine Explosion
Pratt City, AL
No. Killed - 11


View the planets for this day1900
Mine Explosion
Cumnock, NC
No. Killed - 23


View the planets for this day1922
Acmar No. 3
Mine Explosion
Acmar, AL
No. Killed - 11

View the planets for this day1904
Williamstown, PA
No. Killed - 10

View the planets for this day1928
Baltimore No. 5
Mine Explosion
Parsons, PA
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1925
Mine Explosion
Coal Glenn, NC
No. Killed - 53

View the planets for this day1901
Mine Explosion
Dayton, TN
No. Killed - 20

View the planets for this day1871
West Pittston
West Pittston, PA
No. Killed - 20

View the planets for this day1929
Mine Explosion
Yolande, AL
No. Killed - 10

Did You Know? The month of May has accounted for 80 mine disasters in which 1,542 miners were killed; 21 successful rescues (longest - 10 days); and the death of 15 rescuers in 9 incidents.

Successful Rescue Summary Rescuer Death Summary All May Mine Disasters

Successful Mine Rescues in May
1871 West Pittston Colliery Fire, West Pittston, Pennsylvania — The anticipation was palpable as rescuers worked through the night and into the next day.  At 12:30 a.m. (10 hours later) they brought Andrew Morgan to the surface in an unconscious state.  Learning that more miners had barricaded, they sent out for more men and tools.  Up to 22 hours after the fire was first discovered, around twenty more miners, not more than alive were brought out.  Only one or two recovered enough to give an account of themselves.  It is not known how many of those rescued survived.
1877 Wadesville Colliery Mine Fire, Wadesville, Pennsylvania — Men working in other parts of the mine knew that something terrible had happened, and rushed to learn the fate of their comrades.  They found seven miners so terribly burned and bruised that one of them died in a short time.  James Libby was brought out alive, but died in a few hours.  He was fearfully burned.
1890 Three badly injured miners: Anthony Froyne; fire boss John Allen; and Robert W. Roberts were rescued from the Jersey No. 8 mine of the Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company following a cave-in and explosion.  Their entrapment ranged from 9 to 14 hours.  Sadly, all three men died from their extensive injuries after their rescue.  Ironically, it was asserted that John Allen’s lamp caused the explosion.  Had he not done so, all could have been rescued alive, as there was a current of air going through the chamber where the men had taken refuge, after the cave-in had taken place.  See more.
1900 Cumnock Mine Explosion, Cumnock, North Carolina — The accident was in what was known as the east heading.  Between forty and fifty men were in the mine at the time.  Five were brought out alive from the east heading after an undisclosed period, while none of the men in the other parts of the mine were injured.
1907 Seven miners were rescued after 100 hours in the flooded Mine No. 38 of the Berwind-White Operations at Foustwell (near Johnstown), Pennsylvania.  Their rescue was made possible by the bravery of Stiney Rodon and Charles Ream who located the men by swimming 50 feet through a water-filled heading.  Earlier, four others made a similar attempt, but were unsuccessful and returned half-drowned.  Mike Bolya, a mine contractor, took charge of the group of trapped men and led them to the highest point in the heading where they waited for rescuers.  Source documentExternal Link
1912 Norrie Mine, Oliver Iron Mining Company, Ironwood, Michigan - A party of 10 miners and 3 trammers on the night shift was walking home from the boundary of the property above the twentieth level of the mine.  Hearing ground dropping, they retreated to what they thought was a safe place, the main drift, which was securely timbered and had 35 to 40 feet of solid ore above it.  The cave, however, did not occur at the place where the men had been working, but in the very place of refuse to which they had retreated, crushing in the drift timbers over a length of about 80 feet.  Six men were rescued alive after about 24 hours, but one died about a week later.  In all, 7 miners were killed.  See more.
1913 Imperial Mine Explosion, Belle Valley, Ohio — After an undisclosed period, rescuers found Roy Yeager about 300 feet from the scene of the explosion.  Yeager, who was alive, was unable to rise on account of a broken leg, and he probably owes his life to the broken leg.  Lying on the floor, he did not inhale the fumes of the afterdamp.  The rescue party carried him to a mine car and started toward the entrance.
1919 After almost 10 hours of tunneling, Andrew Coshosky, trapped under a fall of slate in the Old Colony Mine, Ligonier, Pennsylvania, was rescued and expected to recover.  Covered to a depth of 30 feet, the only way to reach him was to drive a tunnel under the fallen mass of rock.  Source documentExternal Link
1927 Delagua No. 3 Mine Explosion, Delagua, Colorado — One hundred and thirty two men were in the Delagua No. 3 mine at the time of the blast and all with the exception of the dead and one injured man reached the surface safely through air shafts.  John Walker, 62, was seriously injured and was brought out of the mine four hours after the explosion.
1928 Frank Bucsha was found alive and said to be in good condition after he was found 55 hours following the Mather Mine explosion in Mather, Pennsylvania on May 19, 1928.  195 miners were killed in the blast of the mine owned by Pickands-Mather and Company.  Another miner, John Wade, was rescued from the same mine after 147 hours.  Mine officials said he must have been wandering around in the mine and was missed by the rescuers.  Source documentExternal Link
1939 Rescuers worked for 15 hours to free sixty year old Joseph Babatsky after a fall of clay in a "bootleg" anthracite coal mine near Shenandoah in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.  Thirty rescuers began the work shortly after the fall and as they neared him, he instructed them how to proceed.  Source documentExternal Link
Robert Galligan was rescued from a "bootleg" anthracite mine near Shenandoah, Pennsylvania after a cave-in trapped him in the mine for 65 hours.  During the rescue, he was heard joking and singing.  Source documentExternal Link
1943 NuRex Mine Explosion, LaFollette, Tennessee — Eighteen coal miners, huddling behind a hastily erected canvas barrier nearly 2,000 feet underground, survived an explosion that rocked the Etna Coal and Coke Company mine and suffocated ten of their companions.  The miners, fighting against the deadly fumes of "black damp" for more than eight hours, stumbled and crawled from their barricaded cell as rescue parties freed them.
1948 Bootleg Anthracite Mine Inundation, Shamokin, Pennsylvania — Edward Heck and Peter Gorton were rescued from a bootleg Anthracite mine near Shamokin, Pennsylvania following their 60-hour entrapment from an inundation of water from an adjoining abandoned mine.  The men said they believed their companion, Charles Bashore, was trapped in the lowest part of the mine and had no chance to escape.
1957 50-year-old, Cantrell Owens, was rescued from an abandoned Kentucky coal mine near Harlan after spending more than 2 days lost in mine.  Rescuers had to give up the search once because of the foul air they encountered.  Source documentExternal Link
1958 24 miners, trapped for more than 15 hours, were rescued from a flooded Boone County Coal Corporation mine in Logan, West Virginia.  There were no deaths reported in this accident.  Source documentExternal Link
1958 Wharton No. 2 Mine Roof Fall, West Virginia — Resulting from a roof fall in the Wharton No. 2 mine, one employee was rescued after being pinned against an air compressor for 5 hours.  Four miners were killed in the accident.
1968 Inundation of water at the Saxsewell No. 8 Mine in Hominy Falls, WV.  Fifteen men were rescued 5 days later and six others were rescued 10 days after the inundation occurred.  Source documentExternal Link
1972 Two men, Tom Wilkinson and Ronald Flory, were rescued and found to be in good condition after being trapped for 8 days following the Sunshine silver mine fire in Kellogg, Shoshone County, Idaho.  91 miners were killed in the disaster.  The four men responsible for the rescue were Wayne D. Kanack, Frank J. Delimba, and Don Morris from the U. S. Bureau of Mines, and Sonny Becker, a Sunshine miner.  Source documentExternal Link
2002 Abandoned Mine Rescue, Kern County, California — While riding his dirt bike in a remote part of Kern County, California, a 10-year-old boy fell 200 feet into an abandoned mine shaft.  In a rescue which lasted several hours and was executed by the Indian Wells Valley Mine Rescue Team and the Kern County Fire Department, the boy and his rescuer, Sean Halpin, were raised to the surface.  The victim was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was kept 24 hours for observation and then released.
2006 Darby No. 1 Mine Explosion, Holmes Mill, Kentucky — Paul Ledford, roof bolter, was rescued after more than 2 hours following the explosion.  Ledford had traveled approximately 1,050 feet in the No. 5 Entry where he collapsed and lost consciousness.  He regained consciousness at approximately 3:05 a.m. and crawled into the No. 6 Entry, where he was discovered by rescuers.  He was then taken out of the mine on a battery-powered personnel carrier and transported to Lonesome Pine Hospital in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, where he was treated.

Rescuer Deaths in May
1911 Hartford Mine Fire, Negaunee, Michigan — Within 1 hour after the discovery of the fire, an attempt was made to begin rescue operations without the aid of breathing apparatus.  Three bodies were discovered.  However, because of the reversal of the air current while erecting a stopping, the smoke became so dense that the shift boss ordered the men to return to the surface.  One man attempted to remain and finish the stopping but was overcome.  It was several hours before rescuers reached him, but he was dead.  Three of the others attempted to go out to the Cambria shaft but were overcome and were revived with great difficulty.
1913 Taylor Mine Asphyxiations, Hartford, Kentucky — Five men were killed by blackdamp in a deserted shaft of a coal mine belonging to the Taylor Mining Company.  The men were working near the shaft when C. F. Frazier went to explore the abandoned digging.  He fell into the water and the four others who went to his rescue succumbed to blackdamp.  The miners attempting to rescue Frazier included John Killers, J. P. Ramer, F. Tourk, and Jim Porter.
Imperial Mine Explosion, Belle Valley, Ohio — Henry Fairhurst, a member of the first rescue party to enter the Imperial mine following the explosion, was overcome by gas and died soon after being brought to the surface.
1915 Smokeless Valley No. 1 Mine Explosion, Johnstown, Pennsylvania — Apparatus man succumbed during recovery work.  Mr. Gomer Phillips was an employee of the Cambria Steel Company of Johnstown, PA.  Mr. Phillips was a voluntary rescue man in the Johnstown explosion and came to his death while wearing the apparatus in attempting to rescue the men in the explosion.  Mr. Phillips was the captain of the rescue team.
1920 Mullan Tailing Plant Electrocution, Idaho — A miner was electrocuted and instantly killed at a sub-station of the Washington Water Power Plant, when he was endeavoring to rescue a patrol man of the company, whom he found burned and unconscious upon going to the sub-station to investigate the cause of the power being shut off at the plant in which he was working.
Submarine Mine Explosion, Clinton, Indiana — Following an explosion in the Submarine mine at Clinton, Indiana, James Smith, Art Thompson and Frank Hughes were victims of afterdamp while attempting to recover the body of John Howe.  Jimmie Needham, also a member of the rescue party, was injured.
1940 Anthracite "Bootleg" Operation, Eastern Pennsylvania — On May 16, 1940, Andrew Wolfgang, a foreman of the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Co., and captain of a mine rescue team, lost his life while wearing a McCaa 2-hour oxygen breathing apparatus, in an attempt to rescue a miner at the bottom of a 50-foot, almost vertical, shaft at a "bootleg" mining operation.
1975 Deer Creek Mine Roof Fall, Huntington, Utah — A roof fall occurred in the Deep Creek mine that resulted in the death of two men.  During recovery operations later the same day, another man was killed and two more injured.  In an effort to help their friends, Alfred Willis of Huntington was killed and two other men were injured and hospitalized.
1982 Magma Mine Cave-in, Superior, Arizona — At about 2:40 a.m., as two miners were barring down some loose ground near timbers, a cave-in suddenly occurred without warning.  One of the miners was trapped in the collapse.  After unsuccessfully attempting to free the trapped miner, the other miner summoned three miners who were working in an adjacent area.  Their rescue attempts went awry when one of the rescuers removed a steel bar near the trapped miner, triggering a second cave-in.  This collapse fatally injured another miner.  Shortly thereafter, a third cave-in occurred.  This collapse killed the trapped miner as well as a fourth individual.

Download these documents to read the entire story
Microsoft Word Format Master File
Listed by the month when they occurred, this file contains both the 249 successful rescues and the 99 incidents of rescuer death in the United States. (58 pages)
Successful Mine Rescues
Listed in descending chronological order, this file contains the 249 successful rescues in the United States. (45 pages)
Incidents of Rescuer Death
Listed in descending chronological order, this file contains the 99 incidents of rescuer death in the United States. (20 pages)

  Rescue Contests     Pop Quizzes     Mine Disasters   •  USMRA Membership     Links Library     Training Repository     Contact