February Mine Disaster Anniversaries in 2021


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31 1


View the planets for this day1910
Browder
Mine Explosion
Browder, KY
No. Killed - 34

2


View the planets for this day1922
Gates No. 2
Mine Explosion
Brownsville, PA
No. Killed - 25

View the planets for this day1909
Short Creek
Mine Explosion
Short Creek, AL
No. Killed - 18

3


View the planets for this day1882
Midlothian
Mine Explosion
Coalfield, VA
No. Killed - 32

View the planets for this day1926
Horning No. 4
Mine Explosion
Horning, PA
No. Killed - 20

4


View the planets for this day1957
Bishop No. 34
Mine Explosion
McDowell Cty, WV
No. Killed - 37

View the planets for this day1907
Thomas No. 25
Mine Explosion
Thomas, WV
No. Killed - 25

View the planets for this day1891
Spring Mountain No. 1
Mine Inundation
Jeansville, PA
No. Killed - 13

5


View the planets for this day1924
Milford
Mine Inundation
Crosby, MN
No. Killed - 41

View the planets for this day1910
Ernest No. 2
Mine Explosion
Ernest, PA
No. Killed - 12

6


View the planets for this day1930
Standard
Mine Explosion
Standardville, UT
No. Killed - 23

View the planets for this day1915
Carlisle
Mine Explosion
Carlisle, WV
No. Killed - 22

7
8


View the planets for this day1923
Stag Canon No. 1
Mine Explosion
Dawson, NM
No. Killed - 120

View the planets for this day1906
Parral
Mine Explosion
Parral, WV
No. Killed - 23

9


View the planets for this day1911
Cokedale
Mine Explosion
Trinidad, CO
No. Killed - 17

10
11


View the planets for this day1916
Ernest No. 2
Mine Explosion
Ernest, PA
No. Killed - 27

12
13


View the planets for this day1894
Gaylord
Roof Fall
Plymouth, PA
No. Killed - 13

14


View the planets for this day1916
Pennsylvania
Mine Fire
Butte, MT
No. Killed - 21

15
16


View the planets for this day1883
Diamond
Mine Inundation
Braidwood, IL
No. Killed - 69

17


View the planets for this day1915
Prospect
Mine Explosion
Wilkes-Barre, PA
No. Killed - 13

18


View the planets for this day1896
Vulcan
Mine Explosion
New Castle, CO
No. Killed - 49

19


View the planets for this day1906
Maitland
Mine Explosion
Walsenburg, CO
No. Killed - 14

20


View the planets for this day1905
Virginia City
Mine Explosion
Virginia City, AL
No. Killed - 112

View the planets for this day1925
City
Mine Explosion
Sullivan, IN
No. Killed - 52

View the planets for this day1884
West Leisenring
Mine Explosion
West Leisenring, PA
No. Killed - 19

1928
Kinloch
Mine Explosion
Parnassus, PA
No. Killed - 12

21


View the planets for this day1918
Amasa-Porter
Mine Cave-In
Crystal Falls, MI
No. Killed - 17

22
23


View the planets for this day1911
Belmont
Mine Fire
Tonapah, NV
No. Killed - 17

24


View the planets for this day1928
Mama No. 3
Mine Explosion
Jenny Lind, AR
No. Killed - 13

25


View the planets for this day1901
Diamondville 1
Mine Fire
Diamondville, WY
No. Killed - 26

View the planets for this day1917
North Star
Snowslide
Hailey, ID
No. Killed - 16

26


View the planets for this day1972
Buffalo Creek
Dam Failure
Saunders, WV
No. Killed - 114

27


View the planets for this day1943
Smith
Mine Explosion
Red Lodge, MT
No. Killed - 74

View the planets for this day1932
Boisevain
Mine Explosion
Boisevain, VA
No. Killed - 38

View the planets for this day1895
White Ash
Mine Explosion
Madrid, NM
No. Killed - 24

View the planets for this day1906
Piper No. 2
Mine Explosion
Piper, AL
No. Killed - 12

28


View the planets for this day1902
Liberty Bell
Mine Avalanche
Telluride, CO
No. Killed - 19

29/1


1916
Davis No. 42
Mine Explosion
Kempton, MD
No. Killed - 16

2 3 4 5 6

Did You Know? February has produced 72 mine disasters with 5 or more fatalities; 81 successful rescues (longest - 19 days); and the death of 33 rescuers in 14 incidents.

Successful Mine Rescues Rescuer Deaths All February Mine Disasters

Successful Mine Rescues in February
1875 Osage Mining Company Fire, Osage City, Kansas — Thirty men and three boys were at work in the mine at the time as flames shot out of the shaft high into the air.  Two hours after the fire started, the first of the trapped miners appeared at the surface.  Anxious hands were stretched out, and as the man was drawn to the surface he fainted.  Coming up one after the other, some with strength to hold on and others unconscious.  4½ hours after the start of the fire, every man was saved, and the town was wild with rejoicing.  Later in the evening, all the men were doing well.  Source document PDF Format
1883 Unnamed Lead Mine Cave-in, Bingham, Utah — Buried by a cave-in for 48 hours, Edward Griffin was rescued from an unnamed lead mine at Bingham, Utah.  The rescuers drifted sixty feet to free him.  He was not injured.  Source document PDF Format
1890 Nottingham Colliery Explosion, Plymouth, Pennsylvania — Fire Boss George Dunstan was the only man who could tell anything about the accident.  According to Dunstan, he was going from the sixth lift to the fifth.  When he got out in the passageway between the two lifts, he struck a body of gas.  His light ignited and he was thrown violently to the ground.  He managed to crawl to the gangway where he was rescued after an undisclosed period.
1891 13 miners died in Jeanesville, Pennsylvania after they were trapped by water in the Spring Mountain No. 1 Mine operated by J. C. Hayden and Company on February 4, 1891.  Four others were rescued 19 days later.  They were John Tomaskusky, Joe Mautchwitch, Bosso Franko, and John Berno.  Source document External Link
Following the firing of a blast, water rushed into the Susquehanna Colliery at Grand Tunnel, Pennsylvania trapping Michael Schilling, William Cragel, and John Riner.  Freedom from the flooded mine came for the trio when rescuers found them after 115 hours.  They had to wait out the 4 days perched on a piece of timber 3 inches wide.  When found, the men were almost completely exhausted and would require care to bring them through.  Source document External Link
1894 Boston Run Colliery Inundation, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania — Five miners were rescued — 14 hours — after an inundation trapped them in the Brooks Run Colliery at Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.  The accident was caused by the breaking through of a huge body of water that had accumulated in a mine breach on the surface.  The gangway was engulfed, but the men succeeded in getting to a place of safety where they sat perched in the darkness while the rescuing party cut an opening through 50 feet of solid coal through which they finally crawled to liberty.  Source document PDF Format
1901 Linden Tree Mine Fire, Linden Tree, Ohio — For four hours, when egress for 40 miners became cut off due to smoke and gases, the miners carried water in their dinner buckets and threw it on the flames.  In the meantime, a rescuing party had been organized that fought the fire from the other side.  All were finally rescued without being injured.  Source document PDF Format
Hospital Mines Inundation, Tuscaloosa, Alabama — After an undisclosed period, ten of the thirteen Negroes entombed in the hospital mines were rescued at about 6 a.m.  The other three were found dead.  The rescued men are being taken care of by the authorities.  Source document PDF Format
1902 Bon Air No. 5 Mine Explosion, Bon Air, Tennessee — Over fifteen men received injuries in the No. 5 mine dust explosion at Bon Air, Tennessee.  All were rescued after an undisclosed period and all would probably recover.  Five of the miners were seriously burned.  About 100 men were employed in this mine.  When the explosion occurred all were in the main entry, which made their rescue possible.  Medical attendants say that none of the injuries were necessarily fatal, though five were very serious.  The explosion was caused by the shots fired by the miners to knock down the coal for the day’s run.  If the men had been in the driveways and inner entries when the explosion occurred many lives would have been lost either by the concussion direct or by their being cut off from escape.  Source document PDF Format
1903 Hostetler-Connellsville Coke Company Mine Explosion, Latrobe, Pennsylvania — Five miners were rescued after an undisclosed period following an explosion in the Hostetler-Connellsville Coke Company mine near Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  Source document PDF Format
1904 No. 1 Mine Cave-in, Scranton, Pennsylvania — While at work in the No. 1 mines, John Chalice was buried almost to his neck, requiring many minutes’ work of a force of men to rescue him.  He had been working alone in a chamber, being engaged in knocking down overhead coal, using a pick and bar for the purpose.  Without any warning large chunks of the coal and rock fell and paved the way for an avalanche that threatened to smother the miner.  He shrieked for help, and men in other sections of the mines were not slow in answering his appeals.  After considerable work Chalice was released.  The injured man was taken to the Emergency hospital in the mine ambulance, and his injuries attended to.  He had suffered two fractures of the leg, and was also badly bruised about the body.  Source document PDF Format
1906 Parral Mine Explosion, Parral, West Virginia — After an undisclosed period following the explosion, rescuers removed twelve miners alive, but it was believed that most of them would die from their injuries.
Rosco Mine Cave-in, Forest Ranch, California — For twelve hours, James Larkin, a miner in the Rosco Mine at Forest Ranch, lay pinioned under a mass of rock and timbers which had settled down on him while putting in a set of timbers.  The tunnel was known to be dangerous, but the work had to be done and Larkin volunteered to do it.  Twice when within a few feet of Larkin, the ground caved in again and it was feared he would die before aid could reach him.  Finally, after twelve hours of hard work, their efforts were rewarded and Larkin was rescued.  Both legs were broken and it was feared internal injuries would cause his death.  Source document PDF Format
King Jack Mine Cave-in, Joplin, Missouri — Graves Jett, a miner, lived twenty hours pinioned under hundreds of tons of rock, which fell from the roof of the King Jack mine.  He was rescued by thirty of his fellow workmen, who had worked incessantly since the falling of the material and who did not know that he was alive until a short time before the rescue was effected.  Jett recognized and spoke, cheerfully to his wife when taken to the top of the ground and declared that he would live, but despite his struggle for life, he died later at his home, his lungs having been affected by the foul air which he breathed while imprisoned.  Source document PDF Format
1908 Mid-Valley Colliery Cave-in, Pottsville, Pennsylvania — All but one of the miners who were entombed in the Mid-Valley colliery were rescued alive.  One of the miners was killed following the accident which entombed the men and two were injured.  When the rescuing party penetrated to the entombed men it was found that the men had dug for a great distance through fallen coal.  Source document PDF Format
Tombstone Consolidated Fall of Person, Tombstone, Arizona — John Ashcroft, a miner in the employ of the Tombstone Consolidated Company, met with an accident that might have cost his life.  While going toward the ore shute, he accidentally stumbled into it and fell.  He struck on a timber about ten feet down and, grabbing hold of it, saved himself from falling to the bottom of the shoot, a distance of about fifty feet.  After an undisclosed period, he was rescued from his perilous position by fellow workmen and immediately taken to the surface and then to his home.  A physician was summoned, and an examination showed that Mr. Ashcroft had escaped with but a few slight bruises and a small cut on the side of the head.  Source document PDF Format
1909 Black Diamond Colliery Fire, Luzerne, Pennsylvania — Five men were entombed by fire in the Black Diamond Colliery of the Plymouth Coal Company.  Three of them were rescued 4 hours after the fire started.  They were found a short distance from the foot of the shaft.  Overcome by the thick smoke, the men had fallen to the ground in a state of unconsciousness.  A doctor worked over them for an hour before they recovered sufficiently.  Source document PDF Format
1910 Ernest No. 2 Mine Explosion, Ernest, Pennsylvania — Andy Kragear was overcome by the gas arising from the explosion.  A rescue party using an oxygen helmet rescued and brought him to the surface about 8 hours after the explosion.  Shortly afterward he gained consciousness and was able to tell where he boarded.  He was the only man in the mine in the vicinity of the explosion that escaped.
Sholl Mine Fire, South Bartonville, Illinois — After an undisclosed period, a rescue party entered the escape shaft of the burning Sholl mine at South Bartonville, a mile from the main shaft, and brought two miners, nearly dead from suffocation, to the surface.  The fire is believed to have had an incendiary origin and started in the tipple at 5:30 p.m.  All the upper works and wooden construction in the main shaft were burned.  The blaze was extinguished by volunteers two hours later.  Only the two men were in the mine.  The mine is owned by Sholl Brothers of Peoria.  Source document PDF Format
1911 Homestake Mine Cave-in, Lead, South Dakota — Larry Nichols, who was imprisoned in the Homestake workings by the cave-in which killed Shift Boss Joe Thomas, was dug out after almost a day and removed to the hospital.  He was not seriously injured.  Source document PDF Format
Cokedale Mine Explosion, Trinidad, Colorado — The Cokedale mine was wrecked by an explosion on February 9.  There were seventeen men in the mine at the time of the explosion, and only two shot-firers were rescued after an undisclosed period.  Superintendent Bailess of the company declared that the explosion was due to the accidental discharge of blasting powder.  The mine is owned by the American Smelting and Refining company.  Note: the news article called this the Gale Mine, however, the actual mine name is Cokedale, according to the final investigation report.  Source document PDF Format
1912 With 140 rescuers tearing at the rock and earth blocking the shaft of the Bunker Hill Mine at Sutter Creek, California, freedom came at noon on February 8 for sixty-two miners trapped for 23 hours.  Wives and daughters of the trapped men held torches through the nights while rescuers assailed the jam.  Source document External Link
Eddy Creek Mine Rescue, Dickson City, Pennsylvania — Michael Hudy was rescued by a searching party after being lost for 3 days in the Eddy Creek mine of the D & H Coal Company.   Hudy was found in an abandoned working, exhausted, starving, and lying in a ditch.  He could not explain how he lost his way. He was expected to recover.  Source document PDF Format
Western Coal and Iron No. 5 Mine Fire, McAlester, Oklahoma — Mexican youth, Reifne Rodriguez, was rewarded for his bravery by the United Mine Workers’ 21st district executive board.  When it was discovered that the No. 5 mine was on fire, Rodriguez ran through the workings warning all 100 workmen except for 9 of the danger allowing them to exit before the fire gained headway.  Nine miners died from suffocation in the fire.  For his bravery, the board authorized to set aside sufficient funds for the education of the young Mexican.  Source document PDF Format
Fairmount Coal Co. Mine Entrapment, Danville, Illinois — After being imprisoned in the shaft of the Fairmount Coal Company's mine near Danville for 15 hours, 50 miners were released by men who had chopped the ice from the shaft.  The men were entombed by the breaking of a wheel on the cage, while the cage was about 100 feet below the surface.  Source document PDF Format
1913 Draper Colliery Inundation, Gilberton, Pennsylvania — Three miners were imprisoned for 3 days and 3 nights when the Mahonoy River flooded the Draper Colliery near Gilberton, Pennsylvania.  The face of an old breast collapsed allowing the river to flow in upon them.  The rescued miners were Joseph Drobas, William Kokas, and John Servillas.  Source document PDF Format
1914 Cannon Mine Inundation — Andrew Churnick, 50, was killed by an inrush of water and gravel in No. 11 chute on the water level in the Gem seam.  His body was recovered 4 days later near the first crosscut in the No. 12 chute.  His partner, Mike Bobchurnick, was rescued after being imprisoned for 7 days near the 6th crosscut in the same chute.
1915 Explosion at Carlisle Mine, Carlisle, West Virginia – Twenty-one men were killed and four were rescued soon after the explosion by parties led by company officials.  One of the rescued men, suffering from burns, was sent to a hospital.  Source document 1 External Link  Source document 2 PDF Format
Maple Grove Mine Cave-in, Terre Haute, Indiana — One man was killed and eight other men were trapped in an entry at the bottom of a shaft of the Maple Grove mine when the timbers of the shaft gave way in a cave-in.  After an undisclosed period, the eight miners were rescued by "first aid" workers through an air shaft about 100 feet from the main shaft.  The men were brought to the surface by means of a rope.  One miner, Frank Simmons, 52, was killed in the accident.  Source document PDF Format
1916 Davis No. 42 Mine Explosion, Kempton, Maryland — Those not directly in range of the blast hurried to the main entries and started for the foot of the shaft in which the cages were still operating.  There they were met by rescue parties from the surface and quickly hoisted.  Other rescuers made their way into the mine and located other miners who had been unable to reach the main lines of communication.  These men were brought out after an undisclosed period.
1917 Isle Royale Mine Inundation, Houghton, Michigan — After more than fifty hours imprisonment, three miners were found alive tonight in the flooded Isle Royale mine.  Owing to the weakness of the men they would not be moved through the water to safety until the next day.  They had no knowledge of the fate of the two other men, also entrapped and still missing.  The Isle Royale mine was flooded when a blast broke through the drift wall into an adjoining abandoned working.  Source document PDF Format
1918 Amasa-Porter Mine Inundation, Crystal Falls, Michigan — Following an inundation of water in the Amasa-Porter Mine at Crystal Falls, Michigan, one miner was found unconscious by rescuers after an undisclosed period and brought to the surface.  Three others managed to escape unaided.
1919 Plymouth Consolidated Mine Cave-in, Plymouth, California — Unhurt except for bruises, Vinve Frizonti, a young Italian miner, was buried fourteen hours by a cave-in at the Plymouth Consolidated mine.  Frizonti was caught in a stope on the 1,000-foot level.  Rescuers removed carload after carload of debris while the imprisoned man kept communication by taps on a pipe.  Source document PDF Format
1920 Draper Colliery Cave-in, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania — Peter Burfosky was entombed by a sudden rush of coal at the Draper Colliery for several hours.  An alarm was sounded when it was found Burfosky was a prisoner in his chamber behind tons of rock and coal.  He was taken from his perilous position in an exhausted condition due to his efforts to release himself.  Source document PDF Format
1921 Racketbrook Colliery Cave-in, Carbondale, Pennsylvania — A searching party of six men was assembled after they learned from his family that Joseph Spatz, 32, did not return at his usual hour the evening before.  Spatz was employed at the Racketbrook colliery where he had been working alone in his section of the mine in the afternoon.  After being located at 2:30 a.m., he was hurried to the Emergency Hospital.  He was unconscious and his condition was serious.  His injuries were about the head and shoulders where a fall of roof struck him.  Source document PDF Format
1924 Milford Mine Inundation, Crosby, Minnesota — Fourteen-year-old Frank Hrvatin was responsible for saving the lives of two men when a surface cave-in caused water to flood the Milford mine from nearby Foley Lake a few miles north of Crosby.  Frank reached the mine’s one vertical shaft and began to scurry up the ladder.  With water climbing fast, Frank wormed around an older miner, Harry Hosford.  But another exhausted miner, Matt Kangas, clogged their escape route.  Frank recalled the "superhuman strength" that took over and enabled him to squirm between Kangas’ legs and hoist the man rung-by-rung up to safety.  Then he reached back down and grabbed the wrist of Hosford, who was up to his waist in rising muck, hollering: "For God’s sakes, hurry!  The three miners were among only seven that got out.
1925 City Mine Explosion, Sullivan, Indiana — Emery Davidson of Sullivan was the first injured man to be brought from the workings after an undisclosed period.  He had a badly crushed chest, suffered when slate and rock loosened from the roof of the mine by the blast fell on him.
Low Ash Mine Rescue, Crown City, West Virginia — John Robinson was rescued in a semi-conscious condition after being lost for nine days in the Low Ash mine at Crown City, West Virginia.  Robinson had gone into the mine to repair a pump.  His carbide lamp fell into the water and being unfamiliar with the mine, he wandered aimlessly in the dark.  Source document PDF Format
1927 Joseph Schultz, a miner at the Henry Clay Colliery near Shamokin, Pennsylvania was entombed 4½ hours in a blind heading after a pillar crumbled when disturbed by a shot.   He was penned behind hundreds of tons of coal and rock in a space about 3 feet wide and 6 feet long.   Rescuers found him exhausted.  Source document External Link
Archbald Mine Cave-in, Taylor, Pennsylvania — Three mine workers crawled to safety after being held prisoners by a massive fall of roof in the Archbald mine of the Glen Alden Coal Company at Taylor for 27 hours.  The men seemed to show no ill effects for their experience.  After being examined by physicians at the mines they were taken to their homes and today seemed to have recovered completely from their nerve-racking incarceration.  The trapped men were: Michael Kleback, aged 27; Peter Saynuk, aged 22; and Stanley Glinko, aged 19.  Source document PDF Format
Highland Mine No. 5 Cave-in, Highland, Pennsylvania — Andrew Zippi, and his laborer, Andrew Danko were both caught under a fall of coal in the Highland No. 5 mines of the Jeddo-Highland Coal Company and held prisoners for three hours.  The men were found by members of the night shift who were reporting for duty.  A call for help was immediately sent and thirty men responding to the call.  The thirty men loaded 30 cars of coal and rock, and they succeeded in freeing the two men.  At the hospital, Zippi was found to be suffering from injuries of the back and contusions of the body, and Danko, his laborer, was found to be suffering from injuries of the head and contusions of the body.  Source document PDF Format
1928 One miner was found alive after an explosion at the Kinlock underground coal mine of the Valley Camp Coal Company in Parnassus, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh.  The rescued miner was trapped for nearly 1 day.  12 miners were killed in this accident.  (Parnassus was later renamed New Kensington).
Mama No. 3 Mine Explosion, Jenny Lind, Arkansas — Immediately after the early morning explosion in the Mama No. 3 mine, every miner in the district and volunteers were hurriedly formed into rescue parties.  Shortly before noon, an entrance was blasted into the tomb where the miners were trapped and 105 men were rescued.  About 35 of these were injured in the explosion and others were suffering from the effects of gas.
Buck Run Colliery Cave-in, Pottsville, Pennsylvania — After being shut in by a rush of coal in the Buck Run Colliery for 24 hours, John Drenosky was rescued and removed from the mine uninjured.  Source document PDF Format
Potts Colliery Cave-in, Ashland, Pennsylvania — Henry Knock, 51, was entombed for three hours in the Potts Colliery at Ashland, Pennsylvania.  He became trapped when falling timber caused the top to give way and close in on him.  Source document PDF Format
1929 Twin Falls Avalanche, Twin Falls, Idaho — Miners working in a canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho, dug in the snow an hour to rescue a fellow worker buried in a slide.  The miner was unconscious and almost frozen to death but physicians said he probably would recover.  Source document PDF Format
No. 8 Mine Cave-in, Coaldale, Pennsylvania — Imprisoned eight hours beneath slides of coal and earth that buried him twice when rescue was in sight, Robert Parfitt, 25, was liberated alive from a shaft in the Number 8 mine at Coaldale.  He had been kept alive during the day by means of oxygen lines brought to him when the debris was first removed from about his head, shortly after the accident happened.  The debris was cleared and an oxygen line placed at the nose of Parfitt as the workers began clearing the remainder of his body.  They had nearly liberated him when another fall buried Parfitt again.  The work was resumed once more and was near completion during the afternoon when another fall imprisoned Parfitt.  The work was resumed a fourth time and the workers were able to bring Parfitt from under the debris.  Parfitt was taken to the Coaldale hospital where he was reported as resting comfortably and was expected to recover.  Source document PDF Format
1930 Standard Coal Company, Standard Mine Explosion — Five were rescued by crews from nearby mining communities. The five, taken out after an undisclosed period, had bratticed themselves from the deadly gas fumes, far back in the workings and had left notes directing their rescuers where to find them.
Ellangowan Colliery Cave-in, Pottsville, Pennsylvania — Felix Zegunis was rescued after an 8-hour entrapment in the Ellangowan Colliery at Pottsville, PA.  A fall of coal occurred in the pillar hole, middle split, knocking out timber and shutting off his escape.  The rock hole was closed above the fall.  The miner's buddy was coming up the manway when the fall occurred.  He gave the alarm and, in a few minutes, officials had a big force of rescuers at work.  Source document PDF Format
1931 Powderly Colliery Roof Fall, South Carbondale, Pennsylvania — Two of the five Carbondale men, Frank Cretelli and Alex Docalavich, who were entombed in the Powderly colliery of the Hudson Coal Company, South Carbondale, at 10:30 o’clock yesterday morning, were rescued alive by fellow workmen.  Neither was seriously injured but both suffered greatly from shock following their removal from their hazardous positions in which they were forced to remain for more than seven hours.  The body of John Caruso, one of five men entombed was recovered and no trace has been found of John Rogish, 62, and Thomas Chadwick, 59, both of Carbondale.  Source document PDF Format
1932 Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Pottsville, Pennsylvania — 24 hours after he was pinned under a coal and rock fall in an abandoned tunnel of anthracite mine, Joseph Petorick was tugged free and brought to the surface.  He was still conscious and apparently not badly hurt.  A first aid squad immediately rushed him to a Pottsville hospital for examination and treatment for exposure.  Petorick was said to have gone into the mine by a little used tunnel with three companions to bootleg coal for their families.  The others escaped the cave-in.  When the colliery officials heard Petorick was trapped, they assembled eight of the most skilled miners at the plant to dig through the tunnel, little more than a crevice through the rocky hillside, toward the entombed man.  Source document PDF Format
1933 Lucky Baldwin Mine Fall of Person, Placerville, California — Lester Simmons, engaged with companions, climbed about 30 feet down the shaft, part of the abandoned Lucky Baldwin mine, to bring out some iron ore.  He slipped from the ladder, his friends said, and fell about 5 feet before his clothes caught on a piece of timber.  He dangled in the shaft for an undisclosed period, which mining men said was between 1,000 and 1,500 feet deep, until his companions lowered a rope and brought him to the surface.  Source document PDF Format
1934 Glen Rogers No. 2 Mine Explosion, Glen Rogers, West Virginia — 38 miners were rescued from behind a barricade several hours after an explosion in the Glen Rogers No. 2 mine in West Virginia. Four miners were killed in the incident.   Source document PDF Format
1935 St. Clair Coal Co. Mine Cave-in, St. Clair, Pennsylvania — Trapped by a fall of rock for an undisclosed period at the St. Clair Coal Company, Franklin Zondorhin, 49, was admitted to the Pottsville Hospital late last night for treatment of his injuries.  His face and head were lacerated severely in the mishap and numerous sutures were necessary to close the wounds. Source document PDF Format
Trapped Dog Rescue, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania — Seven coal miners pitched in and helped their comrade, George Erbe, rescue his fox terrier dog, trapped 30 feet below solid rock.  The pup called "Bum" was caught beneath the ridge of rock when he and three other dogs were chasing a fox.  The other dogs came out at the call of their masters, but "Bum" did not appear.  Erbe summoned his miner friends who brought picks, shovels and dynamite.  Though the weather was near zero, the men blasted away at the rock and chipped at the boulders for four days.  After four days of digging, one of the men crawled down into the hole and heard the faint harking of "Bum."  The rescuers reached him within a few minutes.  They found "Bum" whimpering from hunger and cold, but otherwise the pup was uninjured.  Source document PDF Format
United Gold Mine Fire, Cripple Creek, Colorado — The rescue of Ernest Kuri and Jack Silver from the bottom of a 65-foot mine shaft in which they had been trapped by fire was effected after a group of men directed by Sheriff Ed Vinyard spent 15 hours conquering the blaze.  Although shaken by the harrowing experience of facing death as the flames slowly ate their way down the mine shaft, the two miners were uninjured.  The fire broke out in the hoist house above the shaft, spread to other buildings and had started on its way down the shaft before it was noticed and an alarm spread.  Sheriff Vinyard headed a group of 25 volunteers.  Efforts to conquer the flames with chemicals failed and several truckloads of sand and water were hauled to the mine.  When the flames were checked the trapped miners were brought to the surface by a rope lowered into the shaft, the windlass having been destroyed.  “We just sat and prayed when the fire broke out,” Kuri said. “We had just about given up hope of getting out alive when someone dropped some rocks into the shaft to let us know they were trying to get us out.”  The property was owned by United Gold Mines Company.  Source document PDF Format
Consolidation Mine Cave-in, Cumberland, Maryland — Christopher Krause, 55, and William Griffith, Jr., 30, were safe in their homes, unharmed except for the 16-hour exposure to mine gases while imprisoned in the shaft of Consolidation Mine under a fall of rock.  The men became trapped and rescue crews began the tedious task of removing the heavy rock and debris.  Rescue was effected after relay crews labored 16 hours.  Source document PDF Format
1936 Bird Camp Gold Mine Avalanche, Ouray, Colorado — 20 miners were trapped for 10 hours in a tunnel of the Bird Camp Gold Mine by an avalanche of snow.  Two men and a woman were killed when the avalanche roared down Devil’s Slide of Chicago Hill smashing a bunkhouse and closing the mouth of the mine tunnel.  Source document PDF Format
Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Kulpmont, Pennsylvania — John Butcher, 42, had a miraculous escape from death when he was trapped for three hours beneath a fall of top coal in a bootleg coal hole.  A nearby miner heard the fall and investigated and found the roof and side had fallen in.  The rescue workers were amazed when they found Butcher alive when they uncovered his head.  He was treated at the Shamokin hospital for shock and contusions of the back and right arm.  Source document PDF Format
1937 Robert Johnson spent eight days without food in utter darkness in an abandoned Flemington, West Virginia coal mine.  Guided by his weak cries, Bill McDonald, Minor Cleavenger and Lon Smith found the man and brought him out on a stretcher.  Source document External Link
1938 Lehigh Valley Mine Inundation, Jeanesville, Pennsylvania — Seven out of eight miners were rescued after being trapped for 18 hours in the flooded Lehigh Valley Coal Company mine at Jeanesville.  The eighth man, Paul Kuritz was found dead.  The rescued men were Michael Olexa, Joseph Fidishin, Stephen Stefranko, John Lavaraski, Andrew Havrilla, William Davis, and Paul Molnar.  Source document PDF Format
1939 Crown King Mine Cave-in, Prescott, Arizona — Ben Whipple was rescued from his entombment of more than 11 hours from the 500-foot level of the Crown King mine.  He was in critical condition.  Whipple was buried by a cave-in in an old tunnel.  The rescue crew was composed of several men who escaped the cave-in by less than 10 feet.  Source document PDF Format
1940 Independent Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania — Frank Ostroski, 37, was rescued after being trapped for 49½ hours in a cave-in on the property of the Lehigh Valley Coal Company.  Frank’s brother Boley, 26, was rescued 14½ hours earlier and suffered a broken left leg, a fracture of the left arm, and also suffered from shock.  The independent mine where the brothers were trapped, located on Lehigh Valley Coal Company ground, is in the old Morris Ridge section of the abandoned Sayre Colliery workings.  The Ostroski brothers and Thomas Reiner, 21, Mt. Carmel, were in a heading about thirty-five feet from the slope when the accident occurred.  The men were engaged in shifting coal with scoop shovels in relays, when the sides of the heading caved in.  The falling material knocked the shovel from Reiner's hands, completely covered Boley and entombed Frank Ostroski.  Reiner, who barely escaped being caught by the falling material and unable to rescue his buddies single-handed, raced back to town for help.  Source document PDF Format
1941 Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Coaldale, Pennsylvania — Pinned by the legs in a small chute off a gangway of a bootleg mine hole, William Kellet, 20, was released by fellow workers after an undisclosed period and removed to the Coaldale State Hospital.  He was reported in "fair" condition.  Source document PDF Format
1942 Unnamed Mine Cave-in, Mecur, Utah — Three miners were rescued after 49 hours of imprisonment behind a mud slide that blocked the mouth of the tunnel where they had been working.  The men, Mark and Max Jorgenson and William Peterson blinked at the sunlight as they emerged and told of "just waiting" while their rescuers drilled thru a rock wall to reach them.  Source document PDF Format
1943 Smith No. 3 Mine Explosion, Carbon County, Montana — As told in the book "Red Lodge Saga of a Western Area" by Shirley Zupan and Harry J. Owens, three miners were rescued from the Smith No. 3 mine disaster.  At the time of the explosion, Alex Hawthorne, Willard Reid and Eli Houtonen felt unusual pressure in their ears with no sound.  A terrible wind came at them from inside the mine, blowing debris.  Hawthorne reached a phone and sent word that something was wrong, and that he was coming out.  He was then overcome by gas.  Reid and Houtonen were knocked off their feet by the force of the wind.  Reid managed to get up and tried to waken Houtonen.  Guided by Reid's lamp, rescue men found the three and took them above ground.  The three survived the explosion; 74 others did not.
1946 Tamaqua Colliery Cave-in, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania — "I was hoping you guys would get here soon" was the greeting that Rolland Matalcavage gave to his rescuers when they reached him.  Matalcavage was trapped for an undisclosed period by a rush of coal in a chute on the third level workings of the Tamaqua Colliery of the Lehigh Navigation Coal Company.  Workers heard the rush and rescue work proceeded.  After a time, rescuers came upon several overhanging sections of rock, beneath which Matalcavage had crawled for protection.  The workman was unharmed.  Source document PDF Format
1949 Kittoe Mining Works Fire, Benton, Wisconsin — Fifteen miners were rescued after being trapped for seven hours by a fire which occurred in the engine room of the Kittoe Mining Works near Benton, Wisconsin.  The fire cut the men off from their 167-foot escape shaft to the mine head.  Except for one miner who suffered a slight heart attack, all the men remained calm throughout their ordeal.
Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Sagon, Pennsylvania — A 62-year-old miner entombed in a standing position for 9½ hours after a cave-in of coal and earth was smoking a cigarette as weary rescue workers hoisted him from the 30-foot hole.  Alexander Pachekailo was trapped with his son, Joseph, 22, in an anthracite shaft at Sagon, near Shamokin.  The son had dug himself out after an hour.  At Shamokin Hospital, Pachekailo was treated for shock and exposure.  He had no other injuries.  Rescuers were forced to work singly in the four-foot square shaft of the independent mine.  The debris had to be removed a bucket at a time before the trapped miner could be raised to the surface.  Source document PDF Format
1950 Fire Chief Coal Co. Mine No. 2 Cave-in, Whitesburg, Kentucky — Worley Dickinson, 59, was rescued after being trapped by a cave-in for more than 24 hours.  Dickinson and Dewey Rose, 49, were caught in a heavy rock fall in the Fire Chief Coal Company Mine No 2 near Whitesburg, Kentucky.  Rose died instantly on Feb. 14 when the accident happened.  Dickinson said he was imprisoned in a space about the size of a No. 3 washtub.  He had been protected by a wagon where he had been standing when the roof let go.  Source document PDF Format
1951 East Mammoth Mine Cave-in, Coaldale, Pennsylvania — Entombed by a mine cave-in for five hours, Peter Gusick, contract miner, was rescued by fellow workers.  Gusick was caught underground when a chute collapsed on the second level of the East Mammoth gangway at the Coaldale Colliery.  The miner said he went for tools to repair his chute when he heard the tumbling earth and jumped aside to avoid being hit by falling coal and timbering.  The only means of communication Gusick had with digging crews was an air pipe driven down through the debris.  Source document PDF Format
1957 ACA Fluorspar Mine Cave-in, Rosiclare, Illinois — Two miners were rescued unhurt after being trapped 90 minutes behind a wall of ore and waste which spilled into a mine tunnel when a timber support snapped.  John Reed and Grant Ralph, both about 40, were freed from a working tunnel of the Aluminum Company of America Fluorspar Mine. Reed was pinned in rock up to his knees.  A timber support for an ore bin snapped, allowing several tons of the broken rock to fall into the tunnel at the 300-foot level.  125 men were working on various levels in the mine.  Source document PDF Format
1958 Glenn Burchett was rescued after a 6 hour roof fall entrapment in the Amherst Coal Company’s Lundale Mine at Morgantown Post, West Virginia.  Rescue workers using hydraulic jacks slowly and methodically lifted the fallen slate to a point where Burchett could be extricated.  Sadly, Burchett later died from his injuries.
1959 St. Joseph Lead Mine Hoist Accident, Viburnum, Missouri — Two men were killed and two critically hurt in a 100-foot fall to the bottom of a lead mine shaft.  Killed were Junior Gilliam and Don Hall.  Injured were Lloyd Francis and Loy Bennett.  Bennett's right arm was severed.  The mine is operated by the St. Joseph Lead Company.  The men were being hauled up from a new 800-foot-deep shaft in a bucket when one of two ropes clamped together to hold the bucket slipped, spilling them out.  Source document PDF Format
1963 Abandoned Coal Mine Rescue, New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania — Harry Noerr of Middle Run was rescued by New Bethlehem firemen after being trapped for four hours in a cave-in at an abandoned strip mine.  Mr. Noerr, 39, had entered a hole in the highwall at the mine to dig out coal.  He had traveled approximately 20 feet when the cave-in occurred.  When the walls caved in, Mr. Noerr fell another 15 feet and was trapped in the hole.  Accompanying Mr. Noerr were two unidentified youths, who attempted to rescue him with a rope.  When the rope broke, the youths went to the home of a neighbor, who contacted the New Bethlehem Fire Department.  Thirty-four men and two trucks responded to the call.  Two firemen were lowered into the cave with a light and a rope.  They fastened a rope around Mr. Noerr and firemen pulled him up.  After the rescue, Mr. Noerr was able to walk around.  Firemen said he seemed to be in a state of shock but refused medical treatment.  Source document PDF Format
1973 Ranger Fuel Company, Bolt, West Virginia — Five miners were rescued after 4 hours from the flooded Ranger Fuel Company mine at Bolt, WV.  The rescued miners were identified as Dennie Pauley, Otis Best, James Widensall, James Griffith Sr., and Jerry I. Lucas.  Four others had managed to escape.  Source document External Link
1977 Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Apollo, Pennsylvania — John R. Bazella helped to rescue Donald J. McCully from a cave-in, Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, February 8, 1977.  When a cave-in occurred in a coal mine, McCully, 46, was completely buried alongside a mining machine but was able to breathe because the shale and sandstone rock that had fallen was partially supported by collapsed wooden beams.  Bazella, 31, coal mine mechanic, and other workmen gathered to assist in the rescue of McCully.  After another machine had removed enough rocks to uncover the end of the collapsed boom of the mining machine, a tunnel was dug by hand alongside the boom.  It was necessary to cut through a fallen beam along the way as, with the men crawling in and out, the careful removal of rocks finally extended the tunnel to McCully.  Rocks were removed from around him.  As a result of the efforts of Bazella and the other men, McCully then was pulled from under the rock fall via the tunnel.  For their bravery, Mr. Bazella, Clayton R. Wall, Vincent J. Shilobod, Thomas V. Damico, and Lawrence P. Rankin were given the Carnegie Hero Award.  Source document External Link  
Dry Lake No. 4 Mine Cave-in, Cranks Creek, Kentucky — Robert Jones, 28, was rescued after his 8-hour entrapment in the No. 4 mine of the Dry Lake Coal Company.  Another miner was injured, hospitalized and listed in fair condition.  According to reports, Jones received a concussion, but was otherwise in good condition.  Source document PDF Format
1987 Big Mountain Mine Cave-in, Prenter, West Virginia — Cecil Hager, 32, was rescued — 11½ hours — after he was trapped under 14 feet of rubble in a cave-in at the Big Mountain Mine at Prenter, West Virginia.  Rescue workers believed that Hager was working under the canopy of a continuous mining machine at the time of the cave-in and was protected from the falling rock.  Source document PDF Format
Abandoned Mine Accident, Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania — A state Game Commission worker was in stable condition this morning after being rescued from the bottom of a 60-toot shaft after an accident while on a bat-counting expedition.  James Kennedy of Uniontown, was one of about 10 people helping with an annual census of the endangered Indiana bat inside the cave and abandoned mine in Canoe Creek State Park.  Source document PDF Format
1995 Solvay Minerals Trona Mine Rescue, Green River, Wyoming — Two miners were rescued after becoming lost when a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit the area.  The first miner was lifted to safety after a day and was in good condition at a hospital.  The second miner was rescued after nearly two days.  He suffered a heart attack as he was being lifted out of the mine and died hours later.  Source document 1 PDF Format  Source document 2 PDF Format

Rescuer Deaths in February
1899 Diamondville No. 1 Mine Asphyxiations, Diamondville, Wyoming — Ten brave men were risking their lives endeavoring to reopen the Diamondville No. 1 coal mine.  They were all knocked down, one by one, by blackdamp.  When help arrived, two were already dead, and the others were resuscitated with great difficulty.  The names of the dead are John L. Russell and Lee Wright.  Source document External Link
1902 Liberty Bell Mine Avalanche, Telluride, Colorado — As many as 3 rescuers were killed when a second avalanche hit the Liberty Bell mine at Telluride.  In all, 19 miners were killed on February 28 when the buildings and equipment were smashed and lives were dashed by 4 separate snow slides.
1904 Phillips Mine Explosives Detonation, Foster, Iowa — A terrible explosion in the Phillips mine at Foster, Iowa, resulted in the death of John Stevens and Axel Carlson, shot firers.  It was supposed the explosion was caused by a windy shot.  The rescuers were unable to reach the victims for one hour.  When found, Carlson had his arms around Stevens’ neck.  It was thought Carlson was uninjured by the explosion and attempted to rescue Stevens, who was suffocated by firedamp.  Source document PDF Format
1907 Thomas No. 25 Mine Explosion, Thomas, West Virginia — A rescue party of 7 men entered the mine and were exploring for survivors.  They had penetrated as far as the third heading when suddenly the current of air died away.  The motor which operated the large fan above the entrance had burned out.  Now exposed to the blackdamp, 4 of these men were quickly overcome.  Dan R. Jones died from asphyxiation and the other 3 were removed by re-enforcements and revived under the treatment of physicians.
1909 Zeigler Mine Explosion, Zeigler, Illinois — During recovery operations following a fire at this mine, an explosion occurred and three men were killed instantly.
1911 Cokedale Mine Explosion, Trinidad, Colorado — On February 9, 1911, E. A. Sutton, assistant superintendent of the Cokedale mine of the Carbon Coal & Coke Company, Carbondale, Colorado, lost his life while wearing a Drδger helmet-type oxygen breathing apparatus after an explosion in this mine in which 17 men were killed.  It is believed that this was the first instance in the United States, wherein a person died while wearing oxygen breathing apparatus.  In the same incident, Robert Meek, a volunteer rescuer, also lost his life.  Meek fell unconscious from blackdamp after venturing ahead of the air circuit.  He died a few minutes after he was carried out of the mine.  Source document PDF Format
Belmont Mine Fire, Tonopah, Nevada — William A. "Big Bill" Murphy, a 28-year-old cage operator, twice successfully descended into the Belmont Mine inferno to bring confused and unconscious co-workers to the surface.  Said to say "he was nearly done in," he made his third descent into the mine.  This would be his last.  In 2006, a statue was erected and dedicated in Tonopah to "Big Bill," the hero of the Belmont Mine Fire.
1916 Pennsylvania Mine Fire, Butte, Montana — Approximately 195 men were hoisted to the surface in less than 45 minutes after the discovery of the fire.  Six men escaped through the 1,000-foot level to the Tramway mine.  Subsequently, two men lost their lives while wearing Drδger apparatus during rescue and recovery work.
1918 Carthage Fuel Company, Mine Exploration Fatality, Carthage, New Mexico — On February 26, 1918, David Murphy, an experienced mine rescue volunteer from Dawson, New Mexico, lost his life while wearing a Fleuss mouthpiece-type oxygen breathing apparatus during an exploration trip in the Government mine of the Carthage Fuel Company, Carthage, New Mexico.
1921 Sahara No. 8 Mine Explosion, Illinois — Three men lost their lives by suffocation in oxygen apparatus while opening a fire sealed area to see if the fire was extinguished.  The oxygen of one of the three-man crew was fully consumed and the two other men used up all their oxygen in attempted rescue of the one man who went down.
1926 Nelson Mine Explosion, Nelson Creek, Kentucky — Immediately after the blast, Cecil Fulkerson, manager, led a squad of rescue men into the pit.  With him were Archie and Leonard Huter and George Brandon, Jr., whose fathers were killed in the explosion.  Archie Huter, Brandon, and two others were asphyxiated by blackdamp.  Fulkerson and Leonard Huter were overcome by the gas and their condition was serious.
1930 Standard Mine Explosion, Standardville, Utah — The three men in the connected No. 3 mine were killed by the forces, and 17 of those in No. 1 mine died in the afterdamp.  Five of the men in No. 1 mine successfully barricaded themselves and were rescued.  Three men of a fresh air crew were killed by a falling roof slab on February 7.  Source document External Link
1943 C. F. H. (Mulcahy) Mine Cave-in, Shullsburg, Wisconsin — Two of the victims were buried in an initial collapse, which occurred while they were preparing to shoot down a section of the rock suspected of being weak.  Six others were buried in a second cave-in, which occurred while they were attempting to dig out the bodies of the first two men.
Smith No. 3 Mine Explosion, Bearcreek Mountain, Montana — One rescuer later succumbed from the toxic gas, after spending days looking for the miners.
1958 Unnamed Mine Avalanche, Ouray, Colorado — Walter Alton Smith died while aiding in an attempt to rescue Edward L. Mason following an avalanche, Ouray, Colorado, February 14, 1958.  While Mason, 44, assistant mine foreman, was making his way to a mining camp through snow on a road in a mountain canyon, an avalanche occurred, burying him in a bank of snow 20 feet deep that covered the road for 500 feet.  Another man some distance behind him was caught at the edge of the avalanche but succeeded in digging himself out.  He made his way to the camp a mile and a half away and summoned help.  Despite the threat of a four-month accumulation of snow in dangerous slide areas on the mountains, Smith, 46, mine foreman, and another man, each operating a bulldozer, began clearing the road to the snow bank, aided by a miner who used a probing pole to determine depths.  Nearly three hours later, one of the bulldozers ceased to function within 600 feet of the snow bank.  As the three men discussed further action, a second and larger avalanche began at the mountain crest 2,800 feet above them.  Smith and the two other men ran along the road in an effort to escape the snow surging swiftly down the mountainside, but all were buried in a snow bank as much as 30 feet deep covering the road for 1,500 feet.  Rescue parties recovered their bodies six days later.  Mason’s body was located the next day.  Walter Smith was posthumously bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award for his brave attempts.  Source document External Link  

Mine Accident Research Documents
Successful Mine Rescues  (MS Word format)    (PDF 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)    (PDF format)
Listed in descending chronological order, this file contains more than 120 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.
Children Killed in Mine Accidents (MS Excel format)
This is a compilation of more than 100 incidents involving the death of children in mines.  Source documentation links are provided.  See more.  
Women in Mine Accidents (MS Excel format)
This is a compilation of more than 50 incidents involving the death of women in mines.  Source documentation links are provided.  See more.  
Loss of Life Among Wearers of Oxygen Breathing Apparatus
From 1911 to 1940, 26 men lost their lives while wearing oxygen breathing apparatus.
And many, many more . . .