July Mine Disaster Anniversaries in 2021

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View the planets for this day1944
Mine Fire
Belmont, OH
No. Killed - 66


View the planets for this day1912
Eureka Pit
Mine Explosion
Ely, NV
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1942
Pursglove No. 2
Mine Explosion
Pursglove, WV
No. Killed – 20


View the planets for this day1902
Rolling Mill
Mine Explosion
Johnstown, PA
No. Killed - 112

View the planets for this day1941
Acmar No. 6
Mine Explosion
Acmar, AL
No. Killed - 11

View the planets for this day1879
Bodie, CA
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1911
Mine Fire
Sykesville, PA
No. Killed - 21

View the planets for this day1872
Atwater Slope
Mine Fire
Portage County, OH
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1939
Mine Explosion
Providence, KY
No. Killed - 28


View the planets for this day1940
Mine Explosion
Portage, PA
No. Killed - 63

View the planets for this day1902
Daly West/Ontario
Park City, UT
No. Killed – 34

View the planets for this day1937
Mine Explosion
Sullivan, IN
No. Killed – 20


View the planets for this day1892
York Farm
Mine Explosion
Pottsville, PA
No. Killed - 15

View the planets for this day1925
Mine Explosion
Rockwood, TN
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1947
Old Ben No. 8
Mine Explosion
West Frankfort, IL
No. Killed - 21

View the planets for this day1912
Superba and Lemont
Mine Inundation
Evans Station, PA
No. Killed - 18


View the planets for this day1924
Gates No. 1
Mine Explosion
Brownsville, PA
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1948
Mine Explosion
Princeton, IN
No. Killed - 13


View the planets for this day1948
Mine Explosion
Birmingham, AL
No. Killed - 11


Did You Know? July has produced 51 mine disasters with 5 or more fatalities; 43 successful rescues (longest - 10 days); and the death of 15 rescuers in 5 incidents.

Successful Mine Rescues Rescuer Deaths All July Mine Disasters

Successful Mine Rescues in July
1887 Grand Junction Mine Inundation, Des Moines, Iowa — After an imprisonment of 110 hours in the Grand Junction mine, Charley Saunders was released and rescued.  The mine was flooded by the nearby caving of an old shaft.  The rising water had compressed the air which sustained him in the small chamber he occupied.  After his rescue, he complained of hunger, but otherwise he was quite well.  Source document.  PDF Format
1892 Lost Miner Found at Gaylor Shaft, Plymouth, Pennsylvania — Terence O’Brien, age 70, was rescued from the Gaylor shaft at Plymouth, Pennsylvania.  O’Brien, a foreman, had been lost in the mine and without food for 52 hours.  His light had gone out and he wandered off in an old heading.  It was speculated that he might become insane from his experience.  Source document.  PDF Format
1897 Mammoth Gold Mine Cave-in, Phoenix, Arizona — James Stevens was trapped for 13 days and 10 hours in the Mammoth mine near Phoenix, Arizona.  He had no food for the entire time since he had eaten his lunch before the cave-in occurred.  His water supply was gone in three days.  According to the report, his 160-pound frame was reduced to no more than 90 pounds.  His mind was clear although he admitted to thoughts of suicide towards the end of his wait.  Rescuers waited until it was dark to bring him out, fearing the light of day might damage his eyes.  Source document.  PDF Format
1898 Richmond No. 3 Mine Fire, Scranton, Pennsylvania — After an undisclosed period, 40 men were saved from a fire in the Richmond No. 3 mine of the Elk Hill Coal & Iron Company near Scranton, Pa.  The miners owe their rescue to the bravery of Foreman Hugh McCutcheon.  Fire broke out in the engine and fan houses at the head of the shaft.   McCutcheon was lowered to the bottom vein and gave the men warning.  As he stepped away from the carriage, the fan house collapsed and fell down the shaft.  Within five minutes smoke and gases filled the workings, but the men were able to reach the surface via a slope to the 2nd and 1st veins.  Source document.  PDF Format
1900 Lehigh Coal Company Colliery Cave-in, Centralia, Pennsylvania — Rescuers successfully removed two miners that were trapped nearly 12 hours in the Lehigh Coal Company Colliery near Centralia, Pennsylvania.  John Shutt from Bucks Patch suffered no injury, however, the second miner rescued, George Bulla, was found with a huge piece of coal on his chest and died as soon as he was brought to the surface.  Source document.  PDF Format
1902 Rolling Mill Mine Explosion, Johnstown, Pennsylvania — Four men who were brought out alive the night of the Rolling Mill mine disaster were taken to the Memorial Hospital, controlled by the Cambria Steel and Iron Company.  Among these were John Rotalick, Henry Rodgers, Valentine Schalla, and William Robinson.  And the next day, at 2 o’clock p.m., rescuers sent out for medical assistance to treat three others found alive.  They were John Cook, Philip McCann and George Hologyak.
1903 Big Mountain Colliery Cave-in, Shamokin, Pennsylvania — Eighteen miners were rescued from a cave-in after an undisclosed period in the Big Mountain Colliery at Shamokin, Pennsylvania.  All the miners were found alive and uninjured.  Source document.  PDF Format
1904 Daniel Davis died attempting to save William Monroe from suffocation, Sherodsville, Ohio, July 11, 1904.  Davis, 23, coal miner, was overcome by black damp while walking into a mine to rescue Monroe, 38, who was helpless from the gas but was later rescued.  Source document.
1905 Fuller Mine Explosion, Searights, Pennsylvania — The rescuing party had a remarkable escape from death.  They had gone to the bottom of the shaft for the last body and had the body securely fastened to the bottom of the temporary rigged bucket when the concrete wall and timbering about the top of the shaft tumbled down a distance of 70 feet.  The timbers caught in such a manner over the top of the bucket as to save the men who were huddled in it from instant death.  They were buried, however, by hundreds of tons of concrete and scaffolding.  Enough crevices were left in the wreckage to supply them with air until they were rescued in half an hour.
Pond Creek Mine Rescue, Hazleton, Pennsylvania — John Dusheck saved the life of Miss Emma Martin while conducting a sight-seeing party of the Pond Creek mine near Hazleton.  While in the mine, a gust of wind blew out the lights and Miss Martin went ahead in the darkness.  Just as she came upon the brink of a 100-foot shaft, Dusheck seized her, saving her from an awful death.  The end of the article states "the incident broke up the trip."  Indeed!  Source document.  PDF Format
1908 Willamstown Colliery Explosion, Williamstown, Pennsylvania — Ten miners were removed from the mine after an undisclosed period badly burned and torn by the force of the explosion.  It was feared that several of them would die.  One of the injured men was taken to the morgue and it was not until an identification of the bodies was made that it was found that he was living.  The exact number of miners rescued is not known.  Seven miners perished in the disaster.
1913 Spruce No. 1 Mine Inundation, Eveleth, Minnesota — Due to a heavy rainstorm causing a nearby creek to overflow its banks, fifteen miners became trapped in the Spruce No. 1 mine.   Ten of these miners were freed later in the day of the flood, after more than 12 hours.  The remaining 5 miners' freedom required much more difficulty which lasted nearly 4 days.  While they had suffered greatly from bad air and hunger, it was believed they would all recover.  Source document.  PDF Format
1914 Banovich Silver Mine, near Tonopah, Nevada — Two men overcome by powder smoke at the bottom of a 95-foot shaft were brought out by two Bureau of Mines men from car 5.  The rescuers descended the shaft, tied ropes under the armpits of the unconscious miners, and had them hoisted to the surface, where oxygen and artificial respiration were used for two hours.  One miner fully recovered, but no sign of life appeared in the other miner.  Source documentExternal Link  Source document 2.  PDF Format
Pine Brook Colliery Inundation, Peckville, Pennsylvania — Patrick Crane, a driver boy for this Scranton Coal Company mine in Lackawanna County was caught in a rush of water while making his last trip with a mule.  At first, he was thought to be dead.  A searching party was formed and after an undisclosed period he was found in water up to his waist.  The mule was a short distance away.  The lad was taken to the surface, none the worst for his experience.  Source document.  PDF Format
1916 On July 25, 1916, Garrett Morgan made national news for using his gas mask to rescue 32 men trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel 250 feet beneath Lake Erie.  Morgan and a team of volunteers donned the new "gas masks" and went to the rescue.

After the rescue, Morgan's company received requests from fire departments around the country who wished to purchase the new masks.  The Morgan gas mask was later refined for use by U.S. Army during World War I.  In 1914, Garrett Morgan was awarded a patent for a Safety Hood and Smoke Protector.

Two years later, a refined model of his early gas mask won a gold medal at the International Exposition of Sanitation and Safety, and another gold medal from the International Association of Fire Chiefs.   See more.  Source documentExternal Link
Lehigh No. 12 Colliery Cave-in, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania — Joseph Kellert was rescued after a 32-hour entrapment in the No. 12 Colliery of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company.  He was caught by a fall of top rock and rescued uninjured after rescuers dug a 60-foot rock chute to reach him.  Source document.  PDF Format
Babcock Mine Cave-in, Joplin, Missouri — Four miners were rescued — 56 hours — after becoming trapped by a cave-in at the Babcock mine near Joplin, Missouri.  Source document.  PDF Format
1917 Rock Salt Mine Explosion, Ithaca, New York — 21 hours after the explosion of gas, one man was found alive at the bottom of the shaft by a Bureau of Mines rescue party.  His leg had been caught and he was trapped by some timber.  He was freed and taken to the surface.  The party started to recover the body of the other man and brought it to the surface about two hours later.
1922 Midway Mine Fire, Murphysboro, Illinois — Four men that went into the Midway Coal Company mine to investigate the fire became trapped and in need of rescue themselves. They were all safety removed uninjured from the mine after an undisclosed period.  Source document.  PDF Format
1923 Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Lamberton, Pennsylvania — Robert J. Royal rescued Albert E. Roby from a mine cave-in, Lamberton, Pennsylvania, July 12, 1923.  While Roby, 23, timberman’s helper, and Royal, 29, miner, were clearing a mine entry, which had been blocked by falls, a large chunk of slate fell, striking Royal on the back, temporarily paralyzing his legs.  It also fell on Roby, breaking his legs and pinning him to the ground.  Royal crawled 14 feet to a point in the entry which had been protected by timbering.  Upon calling to Roby and learning that he was injured and unable to move, Royal crawled to Roby, using his arms and dragging his legs.  He raised the chunk off Roby with considerable effort and held it up, using his left elbow and forearm as braces, while Roby moved from under it.  Small pieces of slate fell, but there was no further cave-in.  Roby and Royal then crawled to safety, and Royal dragged himself into a mine car and drove a horse hitched to the car 2,000 feet for help.  He was disabled seven months and Roby nine months from their injuries.  Mr. Royal was bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award for his bravery.  Source documentExternal Link
Northside Mine Cave-in, Bicknell, Indiana — Three miners and a Shetland pony were trapped by a cave-in at the Northside mine in Bicknell, Indiana.  On June 28, the three miners were rescued.  Because of the dangerous conditions, mine officials decided that the pony could not be rescued.  At the urging of the rescued miners, company officials consented to let the men continue with the rescue effort for the pony, and after — 10 days — of confinement, the pony was rescued.  Source document.  PDF Format
1927 Rahn Colliery Inundation, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania — Two miners were rescued after being confined for two hours in the flooded Rahn Colliery near Tamaqua. The rescued miners were Peter McHugh and John Smith. Palmer Jones, 19, drowned in the incident.  Source document.  PDF Format
1928 Locust Springs Colliery Inundation — A dam burst without warning and flooded the shaft in the Locust Gap Colliery.  Hearing the rush of the water, forty-nine men barely had time to reach a travelway, crawl into safety holes and make their way to the No. 1 level where they were rescued after an undisclosed period.  Only one of the men, James Carey, of Girardville, required medical attention.  He suffered from shock.
1931 Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Bulan, Kentucky — Jesse Engle rescued Charles Napier from a mine cave-in. While Napier, 31, was working beside a mine car in a mine, a rock weighing approximately 56 tons fell from the roof, knocking him down, and rested on hard-packed coal 20 inches above the floor.  The fingers of one of his hands were pinned between the rock and the top of a box on the car, and his other arm was pinned under the end of the car.  For 40 minutes, Engle he made thrusts against the top edge of the box with iron bars, chipping it, and inserted wedges.  Napier then was able to free his hand.  Engle then reached under Napier and helped him free his other arm.  Engle backed out from beneath the rock, and Napier followed him.  The rock settled four inches during the act, and a half-hour later the rock had crushed the car and settled within three inches of the floor.  Two of Napier's fingers had to be amputated.  He was not otherwise injured.   Mr. Engle was awarded the Carnegie Hero Award for his bravery.  Source documentExternal Link
1933 Twelve miners were rescued after having been trapped for three hours by a fall of coal in the Locust Gap mine operated by the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company at Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania.  Source documentExternal Link
1934 Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, McComas, West Virginia — Joseph James Ellis and Armado Bucchi helped to rescue Walter J. Church from a mine cave-in, McComas, West Virginia, July 28, 1934.  As Church, 31, was standing between the side wall of a room in a coal mine and a mine car that was three feet from the wall, a block of slate eight feet long, six feet wide, and eight inches thick dropped from a long crack in the roof, covering the car and extending to within four inches of the wall.  Church was knocked to his knees, and one arm was pinned against the top of the side of the car.  Ellis, 45, miner, who was between the end of the car and the face of the coal, was struck a glancing blow by the slate and then got out of the room.  He heard slate dribbling from the roof and knew that dribbling slate often preceded a fall.  Calling that there had been a fall and getting an axe, Ellis crawled on his hands and knees four or five feet under the slate, which was but three feet above the floor, and chopped the side of the car four or five inches from Church's arm.  Another block of slate similar in size to the first then dropped on the first block, crushing the sides of the car so that the slate was but two feet above the floor.  A little later Ellis and Bucchi managed to move the side of the car, freeing Church's arm.  The three then backed from beneath the slate.  Church's arm was later amputated at the elbow.  He recovered otherwise.  Messrs. Joseph Ellis and Bucchi were bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award for their bravery.  Source documentExternal Link
1936 Anthracite Bootleg Mine Cave-in, Shamokin, Pennsylvania — Enock Kuklinskie, 35, was rescued 22 hours after being trapped in a 30-foot make-shift mine near Shamokin, Pennsylvania.  He was hospitalized in serious condition.  Source document.  PDF Format
1937 Baker Mine Explosion, Sullivan, Indiana — Four men, burned badly but still alive were rescued from the Baker coal mine shortly after the explosion trapped them and about 20 other miners.  Within the next two hours, eight more were rescued alive from the fire-swept area.  Only two of them had escaped severe burns.
1938 Five miners, buried alive for more than 48 hours following a cave-in at the Veta silver mine at Duncan, Arizona were brought safely to the surface by rescue crews.  The entombed men were Alfred Gillenwater, G. C. Robinson, D. H. Grissom, E. D. Wright, and Albert Carlson.  Source documentExternal Link
Praco No. 7 Rock Fall Disaster — A roof fall occurred in this mine, trapping nine men, three of whom were rescued alive, severely shocked, with minor injuries.  One rescued alive, died, probably from shock, en route to the surface, and the remaining five bodies were dead when recovered.
Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Shamokin, Pennsylvania — Michael Shurpenski, 45, recuperated in the Shamokin State Hospital after being saved from death in a mountain coal hole where he was entombed for nearly an hour.  He was rescued by WPA workers employed on a nearby road project.  Source document.  PDF Format
1939 Duvin Mine Explosion, Providence, Kentucky — Five of the men in the explosion area escaped, 4 being slightly cut and bruised.  A trip rider standing near a telephone at a parting was knocked down but received no injuries; he called the top foreman and then helped two injured men out of the smoke and fumes to a place where a locomotive was sent to bring them to the shaft.  Two of the rescued, Ernest Johnson and Douglas Cates, had been caught beneath the fallen walls, Dennis Walker, was not hurt.  William Reynolds, who had been working near the shaft was injured.
1940 Sonman "E" Mine Explosion, Portage, Pennsylvania — Some of the survivors of the blast were slightly burned by the hot air that rolled through the mine.  Thirteen of them came out of the 18th heading and eight escaped from the 16th heading.  Edward Bem, one of these survivors, said the men crawled on their hands and knees and finally made their way to the 'dip' where they were rescued after an undisclosed period.
1943 Federal Colliery Inundation, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania — Six miners were rescued from the flooded Federal Colliery of the Ollett Coal Company after being trapped for 48 hours.  The rescue was largely successful due to the ingenuity of John Comp from the Red Cross.  Make-shift surf boards were fashioned by Comp and used by the trapped miners with his assistance.  The rescued miners were Henry Rheinstadler, Caesar Rua, Frank Albertini, Peter Carroll, John Bonassi, and Albert Long.  Source document.  PDF Format
1944 Ridgeway Darby Mine Fire, Harlan Kentucky — Eighteen miners trapped for nearly 20 hours were rescued from the flames in the Ridgeway Darby Coal Company Mine in Harlan, Kentucky.  Only one man, C. C. Wills, had to be carried from the mine.  Wills had been overcome by fumes but his condition was not serious.  Source document.  PDF Format
1947 Old Ben No. 8 Mine Explosion, West Frankfort, Illinois — At the time of the explosion 264 men were in the mine, and all those not in the immediate area of the explosion escaped, unaided.  All of the deaths were due to burns and violence resulting from the explosion.  Four men in the immediate explosion area were rescued after an undisclosed period but one man died approximately ten hours after being taken to the surface.
1948 Edgewater Mine Explosion, Birmingham, Alabama — A company spokesman said a pocket of gas apparently was set off near the junction of a new ventilation shaft with an old areaway.  About 50 men were working in the vicinity.  Most escaped through an air shaft and others trapped by gas, were brought to safety by rescue workers after an undisclosed period.
1962 Abandoned Quicksilver Mine Rescue, San Jose, California — After hours of walking around lost in the abandoned quicksilver mine, five children were located by rescuers including Sheriff’s deputies and a 17-year-old neighbor.  The lost teens included Eileen Patrino, 17; Robin Patrino, 9; Wayne Patrino, 4; Jim Butters, 17; and Mike Atchison, 17.  The children became lost when their light failed.  Source document.  PDF Format
1963 On July 12, 1963, in a miracle survival that confounded experts, three teenage boys were found alive after spending 2 days in an abandoned, gas-ridden mine.  The youngsters were found nearly a half-mile from the mouth of No. 2 shaft of Castle Shannon Coal Company which had not been used for more than 25 years.  Their rescuers were U. S. Bureau of Mines Inspectors Everett Turner, James Hutchens and Jennings Breedon.  The boys, Danny O'Kain, Billy Burke and Bobby Abbott were taken to St. Clair Hospital where they were treated for exposure and dehydration.  See Vintage VideoExternal Link  Source document. External Link
1966 Siltix Mine Explosion, Mount Hope, West Virginia — Eleven men in the 6 left section heard the explosion, but they were unaware of what actually happened, and they erected a barricade in the return entries about 250 feet from the entrance to the 6 left section when they encountered smoke and fumes in the return entries.  The men remained behind the barricade until they were rescued about 2 hours later.  After leaving the barricade, seven of these men assisted in recovery operations in the 2 left mains section; two of these seven employees and three additional men were overcome by smoke and fumes and were removed from the mine.
2000 Willow Creek Mine Explosions & Fire, Helper, Utah — More than 10 hours following the explosions in the Willow Creek Mine, four injured miners were laboriously brought to the surface by mine rescue teams.  The rescued men included William Burton, Tyson Hales, Cory Nielsen and Shane Stansfield.  Two other miners were found dead by rescue personnel.
2002 Following an inundation of water from an adjacent abandoned mine, nine miners were rescued after being trapped more than 3 days in the Quecreek Mine in Friedens, Pennsylvania.  Source documentExternal Link
2016 Abandoned Iron Mine, Iron Ridge, Wisconsin — Three teenage boys got lost in a labyrinthine abandoned iron mine in southeastern Wisconsin for hours, spending the night huddled together against the cold before rescuers found them alive and safe.  The three were Tate Rose and Zachary Heron, both 16, and 15-year-old Samuel Lein.

Rescuer Deaths in July
1902 Rolling Mill Mine Explosion, Johnstown, Pennsylvania — Mine foreman, Harry Rodgers; assistant mine foreman, William Blanchard; and fire bosses, John Whitney and John Thomas were overcome by the afterdamp while attempting to rescue other miners.
Daly West and Ontario Silver Mines Explosives Ignition, Park City, Utah — 34 miners were killed following a magazine explosion in the Daly West and Ontario Silver Mines in Park City, Utah.  The magazine, located in the Daly West mine, exploded after miner, John Burgy, entered carrying a lit candle.  Three of the deceased were rescuers: John McLaughlin; James Smith; and Jack Ballon, all of whom died of asphyxiation while rendering aid and searching for survivors.  McLaughlin died after making his second trip into the mine.  Several of the dead were in the adjacent Ontario mine.  With the exception of Mr. Burgy, all the miners died from asphyxiation.
1904 Daniel Davis died attempting to save William Monroe from suffocation, Sherodsville, Ohio, July 11, 1904.  Davis, 23, coal miner, was overcome by black damp while walking into a mine to rescue Monroe, 38, who was helpless from the gas but was later rescued.  Source document.
1920 Black Diamond No. 2, Mine Rescue Training Fatalities, Black Diamond, Washington — On July 10, 1920, Henry DeWinter, Hugh Hughes, and James Hudson lost their lives while wearing oxygen breathing apparatus in an abandoned slope of the Black Diamond No. 2 mine of the Pacific Coast Coal Company, Black Diamond, Washington.
1944 Powhatan Mine Fire, Belmont, Ohio — Immediately upon receiving the news of the fire, George Emery, a 45-year-old foreman and father of four children, went into the pit to help the trapped men.  Hours later he had not returned.
1950 Lark Section - U. S. and Lark Mine Fire, Lark, Utah — The fire was first detected by a pumpman who encountered smoke while being hoisted in the Lark Shaft from the 2500 level to the 1200 level.  He returned by cage to the 2500 level to notify the hoistman by telephone and died sometime later after closing the water doors when a power outage occurred.  The other four men died while attempting to rescue him.

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.  
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 . . .