August Mine Disaster Anniversaries

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View the planets for this day1913
East Brookside
Mine Explosion
Tower City, PA
No. Killed - 20


View the planets for this day1927
Clay No. 7
Mine Explosion
Clay, KY
No. Killed - 15

View the planets for this day1925
Mine Explosion
Wilkes-Barre, PA
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1917
West Kentucky 7
Mine Explosion
Clay, KY
No. Killed - 62


View the planets for this day1934
Derby No. 3
Mine Explosion
Big Stone Gap, VA
No. Killed - 17


View the planets for this day1902
Mine Explosion
Bowen, CO
No. Killed - 13


View the planets for this day1885
West End
Mocanaqua, PA
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1912
Mine Explosion
Abernant, AL
No. Killed - 18


View the planets for this day1923
Frontier No. 1
Mine Explosion
Kemmerer, WY
No. Killed - 99

View the planets for this day1871
Eagle Shaft
Mine Explosion
Pittston, PA
No. Killed - 17


View the planets for this day1928
Irvona No. 3
Mine Explosion
Coalport, PA
No. Killed - 13


View the planets for this day1919
Mine Explosion
La Veta, CO
No. Killed - 18


View the planets for this day1920
Mine No. 19
Mine Explosion
Degnan, OK
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1894
Mine Fire
Franklin, WA
No. Killed - 37


View the planets for this day1926
Clymer No. 1
Mine Explosion
Clymer, PA
No. Killed - 44

View the planets for this day1908
Hailey-Okla No. 1
Mine Fire
Haileyville, OK
No. Killed - 29


View the planets for this day1922
Mine Fire
Jackson, CA
No. Killed - 47

View the planets for this day1963
Cane Creek
Mine Explosion
Moab, UT
No. Killed - 18

View the planets for this day1940
Bates No. 1
Mine Explosion
Bates, AR
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1943
Sayreton 2
Mine Explosion
Sayreton, AL
No. Killed - 28

View the planets for this day1918
Mine Explosion
Burnett, WA
No. Killed - 12


View the planets for this day1895
Sleepy Hollow
Mine Inundation
Sleepy Hollow, CO
No. Killed - 12


View the planets for this day1915
Mine Explosion
Boswell, PA
No. Killed - 19

View the planets for this day1921
Mine Explosion
Harrisburg, IL
No. Killed - 11


Did You Know? The month of August has accounted for 70 mine disasters in which 813 miners were killed; 36 successful rescues (longest - 14 days); and the death of 38 rescuers in 10 incidents.

Successful Mine Rescues Rescuer Deaths All August Mine Disasters

Successful Mine Rescues in August
1886 Fair Lawn Colliery Explosion, Scranton, Pennsylvania — Following the explosion, a crew of men making repairs were sent to the east gangway where groans had been heard.  There they found 3 men still alive.  After an undisclosed period,  the first man to be brought to the surface was John Nofin.  He was badly burned about the face and arms.  John Kerrigan was alive when found and talked the strongest of all but he died before being brought to the surface.  The last was John Connor.  He had two large scalp wounds and a bad cut on the knee and another on the arm.  His face and hands were badly bruised.
1889 Allegheny Mine Inundation, Frostburg, Maryland — Forty miners were driven back and became trapped in the Allegheny mine following a break in of water from the adjacent abandoned Aetna mine.  After an undisclosed period, they were rescued thanks to the bravery of Hugh Meen and William Stevens.  Several animals were in the mine and probably perished.  Source document.  PDF Format
1894 Gilberton Colliery Explosion, Ashland, Pennsylvania — Eleven miners, plus another number whose names could not be learned, were brought to the surface following a methane explosion in the Gilberton Colliery at Ashland.  A roof fall occurred where pillar robbing was being performed which pushed the gas more than 1,000 yards to the gangway where it was ignited by naked lamps.  One miner was killed outright and another died while being carried to his home.
1896 Coleraine Colliery Cave-in, Hazleton, Pennsylvania — Peter Liko was trapped for 14 hours following a cave-in at the Coleraine Colliery near Hazleton, Pennsylvania.  Rescuers had to dig a trench fourteen feet through rock to get beneath him and not disturb overhanging boulders.  Although no bones were broken, he was taken to the hospital, being unable to move a muscle of his body.  Source document.  PDF Format
1907 Unnamed Anthracite Coal Mine Cave-in, Inkerman, Pennsylvania — Thomas Huntley, 40; John Merrick, 50; and Patrick F. Walsh, 29, helped to rescue John R. Eustice, 52, timberman, from a mine cave-in, Inkerman, Pennsylvania, August 22, 1907.  Eustice and four others had been caught by the caving of the roof.  While the roof was working, the walls squeezing, and small stuff falling at intervals, Huntley, with the assistance of the others, dug Eustice from under the coal and debris where he lay injured and carried him to safety.  Eustice recovered.  All four rescuers were bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award for their bravery.  Source documentExternal Link
Butler Colliery Rescue, Pittston, Pennsylvania — Lost miner Paul Swanbeck was found on August 19th, just in time to avoid the postponement of his daughter’s wedding.  Swanbeck had been missing for 48 hours in the Butler Colliery at Pittston, Pennsylvania.  He had wandered into some remote workings, lost his light, and been sickened by foul air.  He was semi-conscious when found.  Safe and sound after his ordeal and lying on the sofa at home, he was able to witness the wedding.  Source document.  PDF Format
1908 A fall of top rock occurred following an explosion in the Knickerbocker Colliery near Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.  Two miners died, but John Kuza, William Suso and Charles Cowley were rescued.  The three men were seriously injured.
1911 Rescuers worked for three days to free Joseph Clary, 32, from the White Oak Mine near Villa Heights, Missouri, where a cave-in had occurred on July 30.  Once a drill hole was large enough, a fried chicken dinner, water and whiskey were lowered to Clary along with a telephone from which he conversed with his family and rescuers.
1912 Abernant Mine Explosion, Abernant, Alabama — 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.
White Mine Inundation, Broad Ford, Pennsylvania — Caused by the most terrific rainstorm in recent years, the White mine of the H. C. Frick Coke Company became flooded, trapping two miners.  Their rescuers, led by Superintendent John Shields waded into the mine and finally reached the two men after an undisclosed period.  The trapped miners were Jesse Addis and another miner identified only as a Slav.  Source document.  PDF Format
1915 Orenda Mine Explosion, Boswell, Pennsylvania — After an undisclosed period, a foreman and others rescued 10 miners who were overcome by afterdamp following a local explosion in the Orenda Mine near Boswell, Pennsylvania.  Two of the rescued men were among the 19 that perished in the disaster.
1917 Thanks to the heroism of Frank Mattson, two miners who were overcome by smoke in the Lincoln mine fire at Virginia, Minnesota were rescued after an undisclosed period.  Mattson was lowered into the mine without a mask where he found Oscar Pakkala and Joe Reinshe.  Mattson found the victims near the flames and carried both of them to the surface.  All three were revived by a pulmotor.
West Kentucky No. 7 Mine Explosion, Clay, Kentucky — Forty six had been brought to the surface alive from the West Kentucky Coal Company's No. 7 mine explosion after 3½ hours.  Of the rescued, 24 were uninjured.  The remainder were suffering from burns, none of which were said to be serious.
1921 Seven miners were rescued after an undisclosed period following an explosion in the Harco Coal Company mine near Harrisburg, Illinois.  The men were suffering from the effects of blackdamp and taken to local hospitals.
1923 Kemmerer Coal Company, Frontier No. 1 Mine Explosion — At 5 o'clock rescuers found a man lying in the main slope who was nearing death from inhalation of smoke and gas fumes.  He was revived by a pulmotor and brought to the surface, where he was taken to a hospital.  He was expected to recover.  A short time later, two men who had hidden in a remote corner of a room off the main slope were taken to the surface, apparently not suffering greatly from their entombment.  Another man, found further in along the main slope, showed signs of life when rescuers reached him, but when doctors attempted to revive him, it was found that he had died.
Co-operative Mining Company Cave-in, Silver City, New Mexico — Six of seven miners trapped for an undisclosed period in a cave-in at the Co-operative Mining Company were rescued.  The seventh man was killed in the incident.  Source document.  PDF Format
1924 Unnamed Anthracite Coal Mine Cave-in, Sugar Notch, Pennsylvania — Joseph P. Riley, 34, mine trackman, rescued Chester Stavinski, 12, from a mine cave-in, Sugar Notch, Pennsylvania, August 4, 1924.  While Chester and several other boys were gathering berries on a hillside, Chester fell into a narrow hole at the top of an old chamber of a mine.  The chamber had been abandoned for five years, and the top had caved in.  Nothing was known of its depth or condition.  Riley, having a rope tied around him, was lowered 200 feet to Chester, who lay at the bottom of the chamber.  He held Chester as men at the surface pulled them to the surface.  Chester died in a few hours as a result of injuries received when he fell.  Mr. Riley was bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award for his bravery.  Source documentExternal Link
1926 Five miners were trapped for six days and seven nights by a cave-in at the Hudson Zinc and Spar Mine near Salem, Kentucky.  Rescuers worked through much difficulty to free the men who were mostly affected by the cold and their thirst.  The 5 rescued miners included Randolph Cobb, Roy James, George Catillo, U. B. Wilson, and Harry Watson.  Underground prayer meetings had caused conversion of last man, read the New York Times headline on August 12, 1926.  All were ready to die.  "If we are dead when you find us, we are saved," was written on their cloth caps.  Source documentExternal Link
Clymer No. 1 Mine Explosion, Clymer, Pennsylvania — Four miners were rescued by the first group of rescuers that entered the shaft after an undisclosed period.  They were working at the foot of the shaft and were dragged to safety before the gases ended their lives.  All were said to be suffering broken bones and internal injuries.  Several minutes later four other men were found and brought out.  They were still warm and first aid was given.  After two hours' work and all means known to medical science had been exhausted, they were pronounced dead.
1927 West Kentucky No. 7 Mine Explosion, Clay, Kentucky — Sixteen of the miners who were preparing to come to the surface at the time of the explosion were rescued after an undisclosed period.  They were 10 white men and six negroes.  None of them was seriously injured.  The explosion wrecked the cages used to lift the miners and coal from the pit and those saved had to be carried through a mine hole used to circulate air.
1934 William Jones, 35, from Minersville, Pennsylvania was rescued from a rock slide in a Bootleg anthracite mine where he was trapped for more than 24 hours.  Source documentExternal Link
Derby No. 3 Mine Explosion, Big Stone Gap, Virginia — After an undisclosed period following the 7 a.m. explosion, two men, Lawrence Fleener and Walter Bayless, were brought out alive and were taken to the Stonega hospital for treatment.  Artificial respiration was resorted to in vain efforts to save some of the others.
1936 Following a 72 hour entrapment in the burning Esry Mine near Moberly, Missouri, two of four men were rescued.  The deceased were Ed Stoner, one of the owners, and George Dameron.  The rescued men were Demmer Sexton and Jack McMann.
Anthracite Bootleg Mine Cave-in, Pottsville, Pennsylvania — Edward Hartley, 23, was rescued several hours after he became a cave-in victim in a bootleg coal hole near Pottsville.  Hartley was conscious when he was removed, however, he was unable to walk since he was engulfed in rock and dirt up to his neck.  He was transported to the Pottsville Hospital where he was listed in fair condition.  Source document.  PDF Format
1937 Gopher-Boulder Mine Cave-in, Holden, California — Frank Libby was rescued after being trapped for several hours in the Gopher-Boulder Mine. The cave-in occurred when a tractor operating on the surface crashed into some old workings, precipitating a shower of giant boulders into the open cut where 2 miners were working. The second miner, Harry Achzig, was killed in the accident.  Source document.  PDF Format
Abandoned Coal Mine Rescue, Marion, Illinois — Jesse Wilson, 30, was rescued 2 days after becoming lost in an abandoned coal mine near Marion, Illinois.  Wilson, a mine owner, had entered the pit with the announced intention of exploring the workings which were adjacent to abandoned workings of a deep shaft mine no longer operating.  The search for Wilson began when he failed to come out at 5 p.m. with the other workers.  Source document.  PDF Format
1938 Shawnee Mine No. 4 Cave-in, Peckville, Pennsylvania — Four miners were trapped for almost nine hours after a cave-in occurred in the No. 4 slope of the Shawnee Coal Company at Peckville, Pennsylvania.  The cave-in occurred when a runaway loaded coal car demolished mine props at the mine entrance.  The four miners were treated for shock at the Mid-Valley Hospital.  Source document.  PDF Format
1963 David Fellin and Henry Throne were trapped for 14 days in the Sheppton Mine in the Pennsylvania anthracite coal region following a cave-in.  In the early hours of Tuesday, Aug. 27, 1963, first Throne, then Fellin was pulled from a depth of 330 feet to the surface wearing parachute harnesses and football helmets.  A third miner in the mine at the time, Lou Bova, was never recovered.   Vintage VideoExternal Link
Cane Creek Mine Explosion — Seven men erected a barricade in 3U drift.  Two of these men left the barricade and traveled to the shaft station where they were met by a rescue crew and brought to the surface 19 hours after the explosion.  The other five men remained behind the barricade and were rescued 50 hours after the explosion.
1965 Unnamed Mine Cave-in, Chillicothe, Ohio — Ernest L. Bradley, 36, heavy equipment operator, sustained fatal injuries helping to rescue Jack W. Berryman, 45, heavy equipment operator, from a cave-in, Chillicothe, Ohio, August 6, 1965.  Bradley immediately entered the ditch and, kneeling in front of Berryman, began digging the earth away with his hands.  As Bradley continued digging, another man entered the ditch.  A man outside the ditch shouted a warning.  A section of earth weighing about six tons caved in from the side nearest Bradley.  The other man jumped back, and only one of his legs was trapped.  Bradley managed to place his arms about his head before the falling earth knocked him face down and covered him completely.  Workmen extricated Bradley and Berryman, both of whom had suffered fractures.  Berryman recovered, but Bradley, who also had suffered internal injuries, died.  Mr. Bradley was bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award for his bravery (posthumously).  Source documentExternal Link
Bethlehem Mine No. 32 Roof Fall, Revloc, Pennsylvania — William Ferguson, 64, was rescued unharmed 12 hours after he was trapped in a roof fall in the No. 32 mine of Bethlehem Mines Corporation at Revloc.  Ferguson was operating the continuous miner.  Two other miners working nearby were uninjured.  Source document.  PDF Format
1968 Buried up to his waist in debris, Ervin Roark was rescued following a roof fall accident in the Amherst Coal Company’s No. 1 mine at Lundale, West Virginia.  Three other miners, Charlie Lowe, Enoc Tudor, and Emmett Copley, were recovered dead after 8 hours.  Source documentExternal Link
1991 70 miners were rescued after more than seven hours following a roof fall at the Consolidation Coal McElroy Mine near Moundsville, West Virginia.  The fall occurred when a mine car struck a roof support causing the collapse.  Rescuers lowered food and extra mine lamps to the trapped miners during their ordeal.  Source documentExternal Link
2002 Walter L. Houser Strip Asphyxiation, Kittanning, Pennsylvania — At 7:15 a.m., Timothy E. Barrett, a 40-year-old auger machine operator became overcome from low oxygen after crawling in a 30-inch diameter auger hole at the Walter L Houser Strip mine.  Barrett crawled into the auger hole but did not return, nor did he respond when Darlene Orr, helper, called to him.  Orr crawled into the hole and found Barrett unconscious about 120 feet into the hole, but was unable to drag him out.  Joseph O'Donnell, MSHA inspector, donned a self contained breathing device, tied two ropes around himself and entered the hole.  Barrett was found unconscious due to the oxygen deficiency.  O'Donnell tried to drag Barrett, but could not.  He then tied a rope to Barrett and signaled to the rescue personnel to begin pulling.  Barrett was removed from the hole at approximately 9:15 a.m. was given emergency medical treatment.  Barrett was transported to Armstrong County Memorial Hospital where he unfortunately was pronounced dead at 9:44 a.m.  Source documentExternal Link
2008 Abandoned Gold Mine Rescue, Sonora, California — Darvis Lee, Jr., 34, was rescued from an abandoned gold mine after tumbling more than 100 feet and spending two nights at the bottom of the dark shaft.  Lee fell down the shaft while exploring the mine.  Source document.  PDF Format
2016 Keystone No. 1 Abandoned Mine Rescue, Keystone, West Virginia — Three men were found and rescued in the abandoned Keystone No. 1 mine following a search lasting more than 12 hours.  The three men found, Justin Bolen, Brandon Collins and Steve Cordle, along with Dustin Bolen and Jimmie were arrested following an investigation into the copper thefts at the mine.  A fourth man lost in the mine, Clay Epperly, was never found.

Rescuer Deaths in August
1913 East Brookside Mine Explosions, Tower City, Pennsylvania — Five miners met their death when they entered the East Brookside Anthracite Mine following an explosion there.  While attempting to rescue victims of the first blast, a second methane explosion occurred, sealing their fate.  The first explosion, believed to be caused by dynamite, killed 15 miners.  One of the rescuers managed to escape, but died a few hours later.
1919 Confined Space Fatality, Trinidad, Colorado — On August 25, 1919, James S. Cunningham, foreman miner of Bureau of Mines rescue car No. 2, died while wearing a Salvus ½-hour apparatus in a gasoline storage tank of the Sinclair Oil & Refining Company, Trinidad, Colorado.
1936 Kathleen Mine Fire, Dowell, Illinois — During the time the State mine rescue team was erecting seals outby the fire, several motor trips of material were sent into the 7th north haulage road which is on the return for this section.  With these trips, there were between 15 and 20 men, who had been sent to assist with the sealing.  All of these men were more or less affected with carbon monoxide; nine of them lost their lives.
Mountain City Mine Asphyxiations, Mountain City, Nevada — Two men persuaded a third to lower them to an area of dangerous atmospheric conditions.  The third man realized the seriousness of the situation but gave little or no thought to the atmospheric conditions.  He proceeded down the manway until he was overcome and fell to the bottom.  A fourth man, in a solitary attempt to rescue the third, was overcome and also fell to within 5 feet of the bottom.  When the shift boss and four others arrived, they attempted to recover the bodies.  Two men were lowered in the bucket, and both were overcome.
1938 Abandoned Mine Asphyxiation, Minersville, Pennsylvania — In an attempt to rescue Joseph Foran, who took refuge in an abandoned mine during a storm, Edward Woll donned a smoke mask and entered the mine.  After locating Foran, Woll was only able to travel 6 feet with him before collapsing.  The smoke mask of Woll was useless in providing protection in the oxygen deficient atmosphere.  Rescuers better equipped found both men 6 feet from fresh air.  Source document.  PDF Format
1943 General Chemical Defense Corporation, Point Pleasant, West Virginia — Three employees of the disposal plant were killed by the inhalation of toxic fumes believed to be hydrogen sulfide or an oxygen deficiency.  Charles R. Miller, Water Treating Operator, was the initial victim.  Delmar W. Oldaker and Gerard Colwell were overcome during rescue attempts.
Sayreton No. 2 Mine, Sayreton, Jefferson County, Alabama — About 12:40 a.m., August 29th, or 2½ hours after the first explosion, a second explosion occurred in the same area, at which time there were 18 members of a rescue party in the affected section.  Two men of the rescue party were killed and 16 were injured.  Eight of the sixteen injured died after being removed to the hospital.  Total number of deaths from the second explosion was 10.
1965 Unnamed Mine Cave-in, Chillicothe, Ohio — Ernest L. Bradley, 36, heavy equipment operator, sustained fatal injuries helping to rescue Jack W. Berryman, 45, heavy equipment operator, from a cave-in, Chillicothe, Ohio, August 6, 1965.  Bradley immediately entered the ditch and, kneeling in front of Berryman, began digging the earth away with his hands.  As Bradley continued digging, another man entered the ditch.  A man outside the ditch shouted a warning.  A section of earth weighing about six tons caved in from the side nearest Bradley.  The other man jumped back, and only one of his legs was trapped.  Bradley managed to place his arms about his head before the falling earth knocked him face down and covered him completely.  Workmen extricated Bradley and Berryman, both of whom had suffered fractures.  Berryman recovered, but Bradley, who also had suffered internal injuries, died.  Mr. Bradley was bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award for his bravery (posthumously).  Source documentExternal Link
1985 R & R Mine No. 3 Carbon Monoxide Suffocation, Woodbine, Kentucky — Loading and hauling coal after a shot throughout the afternoon, a miner was overcome by CO when his scoop became stuck in the face area.  Two others attempting to save the fallen miner were also overcome.
2007 Crandall Canyon Mine Collapse, Huntington, Utah — On August 16, 2007, three rescue workers were killed and six others were injured when a seismic jolt caused a mine accident during an effort to reach six men who have been trapped at the Crandall Canyon Mine since August 6.  The six men initially killed were Kerry Allred, Luis Hernandez, Carlos Payan, Don Erikson, Manuel Sanchez, and Brandon Phillips.  The three killed during the attempted rescue were Federal Mine Inspector, Gary Jensen, Brandon Kimber and Dale Black.

Mine Rescue Research Documents
Successful Mine Rescues  (MS Word format)
Listed in descending chronological order, this file contains hundreds of successful rescues in the United States.  See more.  
Incidents of Rescuer Death  (MS Word format)
Listed in descending chronological order, this file contains more than 100 incidents of rescuer death in the United States.  See more.  
Carnegie Hero Award Recipients  (MS Excel format)
Inspired by the bravery that Daniel A. Lyle and Selwyn M. Taylor External Link displayed at the Harwick Mine Disaster in 1904, Andrew Carnegie started the Carnegie Hero Fund External Link.  The file linked here includes awardees associated with mining along with additional resources which you may find interesting.