January Mine Disaster Anniversaries

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View the planets for this day2006
Mine Explosion
Tallmansville, WV
No. Killed - 12


View the planets for this day1906
Mine Explosion
Coaldale, WV
No. Killed - 22


View the planets for this day1892
Mine No. 11
Mine Explosion
Krebs, OK
No. Killed - 100

View the planets for this day1902
Roof Fall
Negaunee, MI
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1943
Pursglove No. 15
Mine Fire
Pursglove, WV
No. Killed - 13


View the planets for this day1928
Mine No. 18
Mine Explosion
West Frankfort, IL
No. Killed - 21

View the planets for this day1883
Mine Explosion
Coulterville, IL
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1940
Bartley No. 1
Mine Explosion
Bartley, WV
No. Killed - 91

View the planets for this day1909
Explosion & Fire
Zeigler, IL
No. Killed - 26

View the planets for this day1893
Mine Explosion
King, CO
No. Killed - 24

View the planets for this day1914
Rock Castle
Mine Explosion
Rock Castle, AL
No. Killed - 12

View the planets for this day1962
Blue Blaze No. 2
Herrin, IL
No. Killed - 11

View the planets for this day1906
Haverstraw Clay Pit
Haverstraw, NY
No. Killed - 17


View the planets for this day1909
Lick Branch
Mine Explosion
Switchback, WV
No. Killed - 67

View the planets for this day1846
Roof Fall
Carbondale, PA
No. Killed - 14

View the planets for this day1938
Mine Explosion
Harwick, PA
No. Killed - 10

View the planets for this day1886
Almy No. 4
Mine Explosion
Almy, WY
No. Killed - 13


View the planets for this day1926
Mine No. 21
Mine Explosion
Wilburton, OK
No. Killed - 91

Milby and Dow
Mine Fire
Dow, OK
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1926
Jamison No. 8
Mine Explosion
Farmington, WV
No. Killed - 19


View the planets for this day1946
Havaco No. 9
Mine Explosion
Welch, WV
No. Killed - 15

View the planets for this day1947
Mine Explosion
Plymouth, PA
No. Killed - 15


View the planets for this day1895
Butte Hardware
Butte City, MT
No. Killed 150


View the planets for this day1906
Mine Explosion
Detroit, WV
No. Killed - 18

View the planets for this day1951
Burning Springs
Mine Explosion
Kermit, WV
No. Killed - 11


View the planets for this day1886
Mine Explosion
Newburg, PA
No. Killed - 39

View the planets for this day1935
Mine Explosion
Gilberton, PA
No. Killed - 13


View the planets for this day1942
Mine Explosion
Mt. Harris, CO
No. Killed - 34

River Slope
Mine Inundation
Port Griffith, PA
No. Killed - 12


View the planets for this day1907
Mine Explosion
Primero, CO
No. Killed - 24


View the planets for this day1884
Crested Butte
Mine Explosion
Crested Butte, CO
No. Killed - 59

View the planets for this day1902
Lost Creek No. 2
Mine Explosion
Oskaloosa, IA
No. Killed - 20

View the planets for this day1906
Poteau No. 6
Witteville, OK
No. Killed -


View the planets for this day1904
Mine Explosion
Cheswick, PA
No. Killed - 179

View the planets for this day1924
Mine Explosion
Johnson City, IL
No. Killed - 33


View the planets for this day1924
Lancashire 18
Mine Explosion
Shanktown, PA
No. Killed - 36

View the planets for this day1907
Penco, WV
No. Killed - 12

View the planets for this day1929
Kingston No. 5
Mine Explosion
Kingston, WV
No. Killed - 14

View the planets for this day1904
Strattons Independence
Hoisting Accident
Victor, CO
No. Killed - 14


View the planets for this day1891
Mine Explosion
Mt. Pleasant, PA
No. Killed - 109


View the planets for this day1931
Little Betty
Mine Explosion
Digger, IN
No. Killed - 28


View the planets for this day1907
Mine Explosion
Stuart, WV
No. Killed - 84

View the planets for this day1926
Mine Explosion
Helena, AL
No. Killed - 27


View the planets for this day1910
Mine Explosion
Primero, CO
No. Killed - 75


Did You Know? January has produced 86 mine disasters with 5 or more fatals; 38 successful rescues (longest - 48 hrs.); and the death of 16 rescuers in 7 incidents.

Successful Mine Rescues Rescuer Deaths All January Mine Disasters

Successful Mine Rescues in January
1846 Following a massive roof fall in the Delaware-Hudson Mine, John Hosey clambered his way through the damaged mine and managed to get out after being confined in the mine for 48 hours.  He was not seriously injured, except that his hands were lacerated from working his way through the rocks and slate.
1895 Richardson Colliery Cave-in, Pottsville, Pennsylvania — Charles Dietzel was rescued after being trapped for 40 hours in the Richardson Colliery near Pottsvlle, Pennsylvania.  Another miner, August Brenner, who was trapped with Dietzel was evidently crushed to death by the fall of coal.  Source document.  PDF Format
1901 Johnson Mine Rescue, Scranton, Pennsylvania — Discovered tottering along a main road in the Johnson Mine, John Zylankus’ six-day odyssey of being lost in the mine ended. Zylankus, 17, became disoriented when he attempted to take a shortcut to his working place in the mine.  His troubles were made more difficult after he lost his light.  After he was returned to his home, he was examined by a physician who declared the boy would recover all right with proper care.  Source document.  PDF Format
1904 Severely burned 16-year-old, Adolph Gunia, was brought to the surface still alive after an undisclosed period following the explosion in the Harwick mine in Cheswick, Pennsylvania.  He was the lone survivor of the mine blast which took 179 lives.
1907 Penco Mine Explosion, Penco, West Virginia — Following the explosion, almost eighty men were still at the bottom of the shaft.  Almost suffocated, they huddled closely together and cried pitifully up the shaft for assistance.  Several rescuers took possession of the elevator car and quickly ran it down into the shaft.  There were accommodations for only about twenty of the men at a time, however, and the foreign miners, who were crazed from fright, fought like demons to board the car, greatly retarding the work of rescue.  On the last two trips a majority of the miners were unconscious and had to be carried from the car.
1910 Primero Mine Explosion, Primero, Colorado — After an undisclosed period following an explosion in the Primero Mine, one man, Dio Nardine, was rescued.  He was found badly injured beneath a mass of earth and timbers.  Source document
1911 Carbon Hill No. 1 Mine Explosion, Carbon Hill, Virginia — 6 men who were injured in the explosion at the Gayton Mine at Carbon Hill, Virginia were returned to the surface after an undisclosed period.  It is not clear whether all of these men survived their injuries.  A total of seven miners died as result of the explosion.
1914 Cave-in at Black Diamond Mine, Luzerne, Pennsylvania - Four miners were rescued after seven hours by parties led by company officials.  Source documentExternal Link
1918 A cave-in covering approximately 5 acres occurred at the Pennsylvania Coal Company’s Barnum Mine in Pittston, PA.  Two men were killed and 15 injured.  Five of the men were rescued 10 hours after the accident.  Source documentExternal Link
1924 McClintock Mine Explosion, Johnston City, Illinois — Nine injured miners were removed by rescuers after an undisclosed period following an explosion in the McClintock mine which killed 33.  Eight of the injured were hospitalized.  Two were believed fatally hurt.
Park Place Colliery Cave-in, Lehigh Valley Coal Company — Frank Kasian was released from his prison 30 hours after becoming trapped in Slope No. 7, Park Place Colliery of the Lehigh Valley Coal Company.  But the story doesn’t end there.  A second miner, John Koszeinik, was still unaccounted for.  Rescuers continued their vigil for seventeen days.  Koszeinik’s body was found five feet from reaching a chute that would have protected him from death.  Source document.  PDF Format
1926 21 miners managed to escape death's clutches after being trapped for 24 hours in the mule stables following an explosion of the Jamison No. 8 mine in Farmington, West Virginia.  19 miners were killed in the disaster.
Eight negro miners were rescued after an undisclosed period from the No. 21 mine in Wilburton, Oklahoma.  And in a truly heroic effort, Julius Graham, one of the first 7 rescued negroes, rushed back in and saved his step-brother, Roy Gray.
Mossboro No. 1 Mine Explosion, Helena, Alabama — After an undisclosed period following the Mossboro No. 1 mine explosion, twelve men were brought out of the mine alive in one group to be followed by another squad of 13 workers.
1928 Eight miners were brought out of the Peabody Coal Company Mine No. 18 alive and uninjured.  They were: Bill Reed, Alex Hamlin, Tony Strauss, Charles Peebles, Will Allen, Ruel Parks, Charles Mitchell and James Benn.  Reed crawled out of an air shaft while Hamlin and Strauss were in another part of the mine and built a protecting wall to prevent the deadly gas from reaching them.  W. E. Wade, another rescued miner was suffering from the effects of gas.
1930 Lillybrook No. 1 Mine Explosion, Lillybrook, West Virginia — After an undisclosed period, the bodies of eight men, six of whom were Negroes, were recovered.  R. L. Meadows, one of the injured men, was found lying with the dead.  He was considered by physicians to have a chance for recovery.
1931 Seven miners were rescued after an undisclosed period following an explosion in the Little Betty Mine at Dugger, Indiana.  The men who were rescued had barricaded themselves in an entry off one of the main corridors.  Those rescued included Locie Hale, William Bedwell, Ben Snyder, Herman Brown, Charles Love and Charles Centers, all of Linton, and Jule Wellington of Sullivan.
1939 Nineteen miners were rescued from the Clinton Coal Company’s Crown Hill No. 6 Mine Fire near Clinton, Indiana after being trapped there for 10 hours.  Rescuers waded water waist-deep through another tunnel, abandoned for 20 years, broke down a barrier and reached the men from behind.
South Comstock Silver Mine Cave-in, Virginia City, Nevada — George Peterson, 35, was rescued after being trapped for 12 hours when a cave-in occurred in the old South Comstock mine.  He was suffering only from shock and had to be carried out of the mine on a stretcher.  Source document.  PDF Format
Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Newkirk, Pennsylvania — Joseph Franks was rescued from a bootleg coal hole after being trapped for approximately 10 hours.  He was taken to the Coaldale Hospital where he was treated for exposure.  Franks was entombed together with two companions, Edward and George Weidel, who were rescued a short time following the accident.  Rescue workers were impeded in their work by a heavy fall of snow but maintained a constant working crew despite the weather.  Source document.  PDF Format
1941 John Ryan, 28, died shortly after he had been rescued from a "bootleg" coal mine near Pottsville, Pennsylvania in which he had been trapped for 48 hours.  Joseph Slane, 30, who was trapped with Ryan was rescued after a third miner, Vincent Burns, had spread the alarm.  Source documentExternal Link
1942 Wadge Mine Explosion, Mt. Harris, Colorado — Four miners who were working nearer the entrance were rescued after an undisclosed period.  These men included Joe Gall, Bill Fickle, Elmer Everson and Mike Atansoff.
1950 Joseph Burda was rescued after being trapped for 40 hours in a "bootleg" anthracite mine near Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania.  He and his brother, Edward, became trapped following a cave-in.  Rescue attempts carried on for Edward, however, it is unknown if they were successful.  Source documentExternal Link
United Salt Mine Fire, Hockley, Texas — Eight miners were set free from the fire in the United Salt Company mine after an undisclosed period.  The miners had been lowered into the mine only minutes before the fire broke out.  Electric wiring was burned which temporarily idled the mine’s hoist.  The trapped miners were uninjured in the incident.  Source document.  PDF Format
1953 Gilberton Coal Company Drill Hole Entrapment, Gilberton, Pennsylvania — Five-year-old Laura Mae Helser was freed from her 90-minute confinement after falling 10 feet into an 11-inch test hole at the strip mine owned by the Gilberton Coal Company.  Rescuers ingeniously fashioned a make-shift vertical stretcher to free the child from her entrapment.  Source document.  PDF Format
1954 Unnamed Mine Cave-in, Sidney, Kentucky — James G. Thornsbury rescued Frederick J. Pinson from a cave-in, Sidney, Kentucky, January 23, 1984.  Pinson, 31, was seated in the operator's cab of a mining machine when a large section of the ceiling of the mine in which he was working collapsed atop the machine, trapping him.  Thornsbury, 25, miner, who had been working nearby, fled the area of the fall.  Hearing Pinson's cries for help, Thornsbury returned to the edge of the collapsed ceiling, under which there was a narrow space.  Despite additionally falling rock, Thornsbury crawled into the space and proceeded to clear a path to Pinson.  Upon reaching Pinson, Thornsbury assisted him from the cab, then crawled with him from beneath the fallen ceiling.  Pinson suffered bruised ribs but fully recovered.  Mr. Thornsbury was bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award for his bravery.  Source documentExternal Link
1956 Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania — On January 31, 1956, when a section of roof fell in a coal mine 550 feet below the surface, Percy A. Hooper, 33, was buried between a loading machine and a coal pillar.  During an arduous rescue in a space 18 inches wide and 20 inches high, and working with handtools, John W. Blazek, Jr. managed to free Hooper enough that the pair were able to be pulled to safety by assisting miners.  Hooper, who had been buried an hour and a half, was hospitalized for four days from shock and bruises.  Blazek, who had been in the tunnel 30 minutes, was nervous and sustained minor cuts.  Both recovered.  For his bravery, Mr. Blazek was given the Carnegie Hero Award.  Source documentExternal Link
1959 River Slope Mine Inundation, Port Griffith, Pennsylvania — One miner, Amadeo Pancotti, age 50, was awarded the Carnegie Medal for Heroism for leading 32 miners to safety.  As the flood waters rose, Pancotti scaled a 50 foot sand-stone wall which rose generally at an angle of 75 degrees making his way to the surface.  Once there, he summoned others, who raised Louis Randazza, John Elko, and Joseph Soltis from the shaft.  A rescue team entered the mine through the shaft and found James LaFratte, Jerome Stuccio, and Pacifico Stella.  Twenty-six other men later were located and removed.  Twelve miners perished and their bodies were never recovered.
1960 Joseph Mismash was rescued after being trapped 15 hours in a U. S. Steel Corporation iron mine near Ely, Minnesota.  Mismash was trapped in a walled-in cubicle blocked by a 14 foot-thick block of ore.  Source documentExternal Link
1961 Rescuers saved 15-year-old, Larry Dacek, after falling down an airshaft of the abandoned Sutro Tunnel silver mine near Virginia City, Nevada.  He was trapped for 11 hours there.  Mining experts said Dacek escaped certain death by coming to rest on a rock layer supported by a few rotten timbers.  Below him was a straight 1,400 foot fall.  Source documentExternal Link
1964 Stanley Johnson was rescued after his 27-hour entrapment following a cave-in at a MacKay, Utah lead and copper mine owned by Empire Copper Mines.  Johnson suffered only a bad cold following his ordeal.  He was rescued by workmen who found an unused and uncharted back entrance to the mine.  The rescue operations had nearly been halted by frozen ground and cold temperatures just before the old tunnel was found.  The rear entrance led workers to within six feet of the cubicle where Johnson was trapped.  There were no others killed or injured in the accident.  Source documentExternal Link
1967 Two miners, Virgil Williamson and Harry Silman, became trapped after a roof fall in the Shannopin Mine of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation.  Williamson was found dead early on January 24 and Silman was rescued after 2 hours.  Taken to the hospital, he was listed in fair condition, suffering from shock and bruises.  Source documentExternal Link
1969 Twelve miners were rescued after being trapped more than six hours after a fire at the Christopher Coal Company, Humphrey No. 7 mine near Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.  Eleven of the miners were walked out by rescuers, one man was removed by stretcher.  Source documentExternal Link
2003 Injured miner Aaron Meyer, three Sheriff's Deputies and a Paramedic clambered into an oversized bucket attached to a crane following the McElroy Mine Shaft Explosion at Cameron, West Virginia, which lowered them to the injured miners below.  They successfully rescued Benjamin Bair, 23, and Richard Brumley, 51.  On September 29, 2005, the five men were awarded the Carnegie Medal for Heroism.  Included were Aaron Meyer, Jack Cain, Pat Mull, Brent Wharry and Steve Cook.
2006 One miner, Randal McCloy Jr., is found alive after 40 hours following the Sago Mine Explosion in West Virginia.  Twelve miners died in the accident.  This disaster prompted the creation of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 (MINER Act).
2010 Three Missouri miners were rescued from a DPOS after being trapped more than 5 hours in the No. 29 mine of the Doe Run Company near Viburnum on January 21, 2010.  Their escape was cut off when a 30-ton haul truck caught fire.  The trapped miners were: Robert McClain, truck driver; Michael Byers, loader operator; and Timothy Yount, scaler operator.  See more.
2015 Keystone No. 1 Abandoned Mine Rescue, Keystone, West Virginia — In January 2015, a McDowell County man had to be rescued from the Keystone No. 1 mine after entering it to steal copper, officials said (see page 2).  The injured man and his partner became separated after entering the mine.  The partner made his way out, but the injured man did not.  According to a source with knowledge of the incident, the trespasser survived 20 hours in 12 percent oxygen in a rescue effort lasting 6-8 hours.  Source documentExternal Link
2016 Cargill Salt Elevator Incident, Lansing, New York — Rescue crews freed 17 miners in upstate New York after they spent a terrifying 10 hours down in one of the world's deepest salt mines.  The first four of the Cargill Salt miners emerged to the surface in a basket around 7 a.m.  The rest were rescued from the salt mine over the next two hours.

Rescuer Deaths in January
1904 Harwick Mine Explosion, Cheswick, Pennsylvania — Of 175 mine workers underground at the time, the single survivor was the severely burned 16-year-old, Adolph Gunia.  Other casualties included Daniel A. Lyle and the mine engineer, Selwyn M. Taylor, who both gave their lives in rescue attempts after responding to the scene.  Greatly touched by Taylor's and Lyle's sacrifice, Andrew Carnegie had medals privately minted for their families, and within two months had established a $5 million Carnegie Hero Fund as a result.
1906 Haverstraw Clay Pit Collapse, Haverstraw, New York — After a house was toppled into a pit cut by clay diggers in Haverstraw, NY, five men went to the rescue to aid their neighbors.  After the first house fell, twelve other houses went crashing over the precipice.  The wreckage quickly caught fire, and those who were in the mass were either crushed or burned to death.  Nineteen persons were killed.
1909 Zeigler Mine Explosion, Zeigler, Illinois — During recovery operations following a fire at this mine, an explosion occurred and three men were killed instantly.
Northwestern Mine Asphyxiation, Ashford County, Washington — After a miner fired shots in the Northwestern coal mine, an explosion occurred.  Another victim (Dinkler), with others, went to rescue the shotfirer, but was overcome by afterdamp before he could.
1912 Cherry Valley Mine Fire, Cherry Valley, Pennsylvania — John Ferrell of the U.S. Bureau of Mines was killed while exploring a mine in which a fire was raging. Ferrell had been in charge of the Bureau of Mines Rescue Car No. 5 since October 1911.  At a mine rescue a few weeks earlier at Briceville, Tennessee, Ferrell rescued five men.  It is unknown if any others were killed or injured in the Cherry Valley Mine Fire.
1914 Boston Mine Fire, Bingham, Utah — Three of the deceased in the Boston mine fire were Austrians, who on hearing that two of their countrymen were in the smoke-filled workings rushed in at 9 o'clock a.m. to attempt a rescue.  Their bodies were brought out at 10 o'clock that night by three rescuers wearing oxygen helmets.  The three attempting the rescue were Mike Osich, Josep Stemich, and Robert Duich.
1943 Pursglove No. 15 Mine Fire, Pursglove, West Virginia— During the fire at the No. 15 mine of the Pursglove Mining Company, an act of heroism cost the life of Guy Quinn, 38-year-old night-foreman, who escaped after the fire but returned to open two ventilating doors in an effort to save his trapped comrades.  He had managed to open one door but was overcome while working on the other.

Mine Accident 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.  
Successful Mine Rescue Durations  (MS Excel format)
This MS Excel file contains a chronological list of more than 400 successful rescues from 1846 to the present.  Each rescue event listed contains a web or document link to additional information about the event.
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.
Children Killed in Mine Accidents (MS Excel format)
This is a compilation of more than 80 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.