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Mine Disasters in the United States

Women Killed in
Mine Accidents
in the United States
  • Mrs. Gabriel Gandolf
    Northwestern Improvement Mine No. 2, Roslyn County, Washington, January 26, 1907
    Mrs. Gabriel Gandolf, 37, was taking coal from tipple tracks when an out-coming trip ran over her, inflicting fatal injuries.  This woman had been repeatedly warned to keep off the tracks, it being against mine rules for persons to pick coal from or walk tracks.
  • Ethel Eugene Jones
    Black Mountain Mine No. 31 - Roof Fall, Harlan County, Kentucky, January 4, 1951
    Ethel Eugene Jones, 29, was fatally injured in an underground fall of roof accident at 11:30 p.m.  She died on January 5, 1951.
  • Unidentified Female
    North Tamarack No. 4 Shaft - Fall of Person, Calumet, Michigan, July 16, 1966
    A seven year old girl fell into the abandoned North Tamarack No. 4 shaft of Calumet and Hecla Incorporated.
  • Unidentified Female
    Unnamed Strip Mine - Falling Material, Oliver Springs, Tennessee, March 21, 1975
    An unidentified woman was killed and her son was injured when a large rock fell from a highwall.
  • Unidentified Female
    Kline Dredge and Plant - Powered Haulage, Woodward, Oklahoma, January 29, 1976
    The victim and her young son (passenger) were killed instantly when the truck she was driving was struck by a train.
  • Charlene R. Salazar
    Climax Mine - Falling Material, Climax, Colorado, September 19, 1976
    Charlene R. Salazar, 22, was fatally injured when she was caught beneath a fall of material from a finger raise and suffocated.
  • Unidentified Female
    Ash Fork Portable Crusher - Machinery, Ash Fork, Arizona, November 3, 1978
    The victim was fatally injured when she was attempting to change a grease fitting on a self-cleaning tail pulley.
    • Marilyn McCusker
      Rushton Mine - Roof Fall, Osceola Mills, Pennsylvania, October 2, 1979
      This accident occurred at about 3:15 p.m. on Oct. 2, 1979, five years after Marilyn McCusker first applied for a job with Rushton Mining.  She was performing the dangerous job of roof bolter helper when a section of the mine roof collapsed.  Tons of rock and debris fell on McCusker, suffocating her.
    • Unidentified Female
      Balc1s Plant - Fall of Person, New Branufells, Texas, October 3, 1979
      The victim was fatally injured when she fell 74 feet through a 19 by 23 inch cleanout hole on the deck of the clinker silo to a concrete floor at ground level.
    • Unidentified Female
      Minntac Mine - Handling Materials, Mountain Iron, Minnesota, February 28, 1980
      The victim was fatally injured when the base of an electric power cable support stand she was working near fell over pinning her underneath.
    • Robin Rice
      Camp No. 11 Mine - Powered Haulage, Morganfield, Kentucky, June 4, 1980
      Robin Rice, classified belt cleaner, was killed when she tried to replace the trolley pole that came off the wire and was crushed between the overcast and the top of the locomotive.
    • Unidentified Female
      Nevada Moly - Powered Haulage, Tonopah, Nevada, March 29, 1981
      The victim was crushed when the truck she was driving overturned, threw her out, and pinned her beneath it.
    • Mary Kay "Kat" Counts
      McClure No. 1 - Mine Explosion, McClure, Virginia, June 21, 1983
      At approximately 10:15 p.m., June 21, 1983, an explosion occurred in the 2 Left entries of McClure No. 1 Mine of Clinchfield Coal Co., located at McClure, Virginia.  Ten miners, including Mary Kay Counts, were present in the 2 Left entries at the time of the explosion, eight in the face area and two in the track entry.  Seven died as a result of the explosion.  Three miners at the faces survived the explosion and were rescued.
    • Florence Colleen Whitmore
      Nevada Moly - Powered Haulage, Tonopah, Nevada, July 28, 1984
      Florence Colleen Whitmore, haulage driver, was fatally injured when she was run over by a 120-ton Wabco Haulpac dump truck.  For unknown reasons, she left the cab without setting any of the three braking systems and was run over by the truck she had been operating.
    • Nannett Wheeler
      Wilberg Mine - Fire, Wilberg, Utah, December 19, 1984
      At about 9:00 p.m., December 19, 1984, a mine fire occurred at an air compressor station at the mouth of the 5th Right longwall section in the Wilberg Mine.  Twenty-eight miners, including Nannett Wheeler, were present in the 5th Right section at the time of the fire.  Only one survived.
    • Karen Laverne Welker
      Lone Star Quarry - Machinery, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, February 12, 1986
      Karen Laverne Welker, general truck driver, age 40, was fatally injured at approximately 7:30 a.m. on February 12, 1986.  Her head and the upper part of her body were crushed by a metal Dempster Dumpster trash container.  She apparently was behind the open dumpster, preparing to clean out the suspended open container with a scraper, when the top portion of the container fell and crushed her.  She was killed instantly.  Welker had 7 years 8 months total mining experience with 2 years 5 months experience as a general truck driver, all at this operation.
    • Unidentified Female
      Jewell Smokeless No. 18 - Inundation, Whitewood, Virginia, May 13, 1995
      A woman was killed when an outburst resulted in damage to the supporting structure of the dwelling causing the kitchen area to collapse and she was entrapped.
    • Isabelle Marcelle Justus
      Getchell Mine - Powered Haulage, Golconda, Nevada, January 15, 1997
      Isabelle Marcelle Justus, age 36, an underground lube technician/laborer, was fatally injured at approximately 4:20 p.m. on January 15, 1997, when the loader she was servicing crushed her against the rib.  Justus had one year and three months of mining experience, all at this mine.  She had held the title of lube technician the past nine months.  Justus originally was hired as a surface warehouse worker and was given 24 hours of surface new miner training.  She was later transferred underground but was not given the required underground new miner training.  There also were no records to indicate that she had received task training upon being assigned lube technician duties.
    • Stephanie Renee Counsil
      Galatia Mine No. 56-1 - Rib Fall, Harrisburg, Illinois, March 23, 1997
      Stephanie Renee Counsil, stage loader operator, was fatally injured when a large portion of a rib fell, covering and pinning her against a longwall stage loader master controller.  The accident occurred because the ribs in the area where the stage loader operator works around the 6th East Longwall Stage Loader were not supported or otherwise controlled to protect the stage loader operator.  A rib collapsed, crushing the stage loader operator against the longwall stage loader master controller.
    • Nancy Hughes
      Neverson Quarry - Powered Haulage, Bailey, North Carolina, July 8, 1997
      Nancy Hughes, contract truck driver, age 44, was fatally injured at about 1:40 p.m., on July 8, 1997, when she drove her truck into the path of an on-coming train.  Hughes had fifteen weeks experience in this job.  The victim had not received training under the requirements of 30 CFR, Part 48.
    • Joyce C. Gerwitz
      Bullitt County Stone - Sliding Material, Shepherdsville, Kentucky, July 17, 1997
      Joyce C. Gerwitz, welder, age 38, died of suffocation at about 5:05 p.m. on July 17, 1996, when she was engulfed by a slide of material while cutting an opening at the end of a pug mill surge tunnel.  She had a total of 9 days mining experience, all with this company.  The victim had received training in accordance with 30 CFR Part 48.  Eight hours had been completed on July 10, 1996.
    • Lisa McDowell
      Overland Services - Electrical, Bound Brook, New Jersey, August 8, 1997
      Lisa McDowell, age 19, was electrocuted at approximately 7:00 a.m. on August 8, 1997, as she stepped out of the cab of an over-the-road haul truck that had contacted an overhead high voltage power line.  She and William Richardson, age 20, were passengers of Michael Austin, age 41, truck driver for Overland Services, Inc., an independent trucking company contracted to haul finished material from the mine.  Austin had not received training in accordance with 30 CFR Part 48.
    • Onita L. Davis
      Tiftonia Quarry - Fall of Highwall, Chattanooga, Tennessee, February 27, 1999
      Onita L. Davis, contract driller, age 45, was fatally injured at about 9:00 a.m. on February 27, 1999, when she was struck by a rock that fell from a highwall.  Davis had a total of 6 years experience as a driller with the contracting company.  She had received training in accordance with 30 CFR, Part 48.
    • Candi Reeve
      Rattlesnake Pit - Powered Haulage, Hurricane, Utah, April 21, 2000
      On April 21, 2000, Candi Reeve, wash plant operator, age 18, was fatally injured when she became entangled in the conveyor belt tail pulley.  The accident occurred because management had not established procedures that required moving machine parts to be guarded.  The victim was assigned to operate the plant alone which was likely a factor contributing to the severity of the accident.
    • Helen L. Pittington
      Russell Pit - Powered Haulage, Wellington, Colorado, October 12, 2002
      Helen L. Pittington, president, age 52, was fatally injured on October 12, 2002, when she was struck by a front-end loader that was backing up.  The accident occurred because the victim inadvertently placed herself in the loader operator's blind spot.
    • Judith D. Beeson
      R-D Mac - Powered Haulage, La Grande, Oregon, October 21, 2002
      On October 21, 2002, Judith D. Beeson, truck driver, age 51, was injured when a portion of a dumpsite collapsed causing the truck she was driving to overturn and fall into the water at the No. 1 pit.  The victim died of the injuries sustained on October 25, 2002
    • Georgie Vogel
      North Marion Quarry No. 388 - Powered Haulage, Marion, Kansas, April 21, 2003
      Georgie Vogel, weigh master, age 58, was fatally injured on April 21, 2003, when a pickup truck, driven by the plant manager, struck and entered the building where she was working.  The vehicle was traveling on a mine road adjacent to the building.  The accident occurred because a mine employee had a medical condition that caused him not to be fully cognizant of his actions at all times.  Subsequently, he failed to maintain control of the vehicle he was operating.
    • Rebecca A. Dysart
      Pattison Sand Mine - Powered Haulage, Clayton, Iowa, April 24, 2008
      Rebecca A. Dysart, laborer, age 48, was fatally injured on April 24, 2008.  Dysart was struck by a front-end loader that backed up.  The accident occurred because management policies and procedures failed to ensure that persons could safely work in areas where mobile equipment operated and failed to ensure that safety defects were corrected in a timely manner.  The right rear-view mirror on the front-end loader was broken along the top portion and the mounting bracket was bent.  The victim's cap lamp was not positioned on her hard hat and no reflective material was on the hard hat.  Reflective material on the victim's equipment belt was obscured by the cap lamp battery, self-rescuer, and possibly by the black coat she was wearing.
    • Wynetta J. Raye
      Ozark Premium Sand - Powered Haulage, Bradford, Arkansas, September 15, 2009
      On September 15, 2009, Wynetta J. Raye, delivery truck driver, age 59, was fatally injured when she was struck by a front-end loader.  Raye parked a delivery truck on a county road adjacent to the mine and walked onto the site to deliver a package.  The front-end loader operator was backing the loader toward Raye’s truck but did not see her behind the loader.
    • Jeri L. Etsitty
      Navajo Mine - Powered Haulage, Fruitland, New Mexico, July 21, 2011
      Shortly after 8:45 p.m., while walking with Jolene Begay on a mine roadway that was often used for walking by company personnel, Jeri L. Etsitty was struck by a pickup truck operated by William Thompson, Account Manager for P&H Mine Pro Services.  She was pronounced dead at the site at approximately 12:00 a.m. on July 22, 2011.
    • Angela W. CommonSee Video    External Link
      Sterling Materials - Powered Haulage, Verona, Kentucky, May 15, 2012
      Angela W. Common, 37, died while operating a new piece of equipment in an underground quarry at Sterling Materials.  Common was driving a large dump truck when she hit a rock wall and was ejected, the truck then rolled over her.  Common had recently returned back to work at Sterling Materials after taking a year off for medical reasons and was taking a refresher course at the time of the accident.

      Non-Production Mine Accidents

    • Amy Armstrong
      Copper Queen Haunted Mine – Powered Haulage, Bisbee, Arizona, November 1, 2001
      Amy Armstrong, 26, fell under the wheels of a mine train carrying about 40 people during a mine tour of the Copper Queen Haunted Mine 1,500 feet inside a mountain.  Armstrong apparently had been caught under a fallen wooden beam and was pinned against the wall of the mine by the train until several men freed her.
    • Linda RoseSee Video    External Link
      Abandoned Tungsten Peak Mine – Fall of Person, Bradys, California, November 1, 2009
      Linda Rose, 30, was killed when she fell into a shaft of the abandoned Tungsten Peak Mine south of Bradys, California.  Rose fell about 100 feet down.  She had taken her young nephew to the site and apparently got too close to a shaft and ended up falling in when the ground gave way beneath her.
    The USMRA acknowledges that the fatalities listed here may not be all that have occurred.  As additional accident victims are identified, they will be added.  If you'd like to help, please use the contact mail form and let us know about any that have been overlooked.


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