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Mine Disasters in
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Abernant Coal Company
Abernant Mine Explosion

Abernant, Alabama
August 13, 1912
No. Killed - 18

Successful Rescue

The day after the explosion, an exploring party found a man in the 14th right aircourse, still alive.  He was brought to the surface, but in such a condition that he never regained consciousness.  Another miner, after repeated efforts to penetrate the afterdamp, took refuge at the face of 14th right aircourse and came out unassisted after about 3 hours.


From the Google News Archives:  External Link
(news links open in a separate window)


(From Bureau of Mines report, by E. B. Sutton)

The explosion, at about 10:30 a.m., resulted in the death of 18 men, all Negroes.  Six of these men were badly burned; the others were suffocated.  One man, after repeated efforts to penetrate the afterdamp, took refuge at the face of 14th right aircourse and came out unassisted at about 1 p.m.  Immediately after the explosion rescue and recovery work was begun.  Seventeen bodies were removed during the afternoon.

On August 14 an exploring party found a man in the 14th right aircourse, still alive, but in such a condition that he never regained consciousness.

The explosion was caused by the open light of a laborer from room No. 8 on the 15th right entry when he went into the abandoned room No. 11.  That room had been driven 195 feet and had only 1 crosscut into room No. 10.

The mine made dangerous quantities of gas, but the continuous air current was not taken to working faces.  All but heading men used open lights.  Abandoned workings were not ventilated or inspected.

The explosion was propagated by gas and dust over the workings inby the 14th right entry.  Permissible explosives were fired by shot firers after the men were out of the mine.  Sprinkling was provided for but seldom done.


More News Headlines at the Time:
  • "Many Killed in Abernant Mine: Report from Tuscaloosa Says Fourteen to Seventeen Miners Lose Their Lives," Birmingham News, 13 Aug 1912: 1.
  • "Explosion Which Claimed 18 Victims was Caused by Gas: Local Accident at Abernant Being Investigated by Nesbitt and Ray," Birmingham News, 14 Aug 1912: 1, 2.
  • "Entombed Miner is Brought Out Alive After Many Hours: Escape of Henry Duncan at Abernant Mine Regarded as Remarkable," Birmingham News, 15 Aug 1912: 1.
  • "White Miner's Heroism is Praised by a Negro: 'Kid' Clark, Globe Trotter, Anxious for His Friends to Know He Was Not One of Victims of Disastrous Abernant Explosion," Birmingham News, 15 Aug 1912: 5.
  • "Nesbitt's Report on Abernant to be Finished Today: Several Negroes Could Have Been Saved if Helmets Had Been on Hand," Birmingham Age-Herald, 22 Aug 1912: 5.



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