June Mine Disaster Anniversaries
|January February March April May June July August September October November December|
|Did You Know?||June has produced 42 mine disasters with 5 or more fatals; 27 successful rescues (longest - 120 hrs.); and the death of 37 rescuers in 8 incidents.|
|Successful Mine Rescues||Rescuer Deaths||All June Mine Disasters|
|Successful Mine Rescues in June|
|1899||Gaylord Mine Cave-in, Plymouth, Pennsylvania Ignatz Cosmoro was entombed in the Gaylord mine of the Kingston Coal Company for 76 hours following the inrush of an unusually large amount of coal after a blast made by Cosmoro and another unnamed miner. With no serious injury, Cosmoro was able to walk home after his release. Source document.|
|1901||Port Royal No. 2 Mine Explosion and Fire, Port Royal, Pennsylvania A temporary rescue party entered the shaft after an undisclosed period and started toward the spot where it was thought some of the entombed men may be found. Lying at the bottom of the shaft were Lawrence Settler and John Stakes. Unconscious and covered with dirt, the men quickly were taken to the top of the mine.|
|1903||Hanna No. 1 Mine Explosion, Hanna, Wyoming About 3 hours after the explosion, four men were taken out alive and a half hour later they were followed by forty-two others. Many were unconscious and had to be carried from the workings. Several were in a serious condition, but it was believed all would recover.|
|1908||Markle Mine Cave-in, Jeddo, Pennsylvania After an undisclosed period, Michael Lebon was rescued unhurt from a cave-in at the G. B. Markle and Company mine in Jeddo, Pennsylvania. Two falls occurred in the mine during this event. The first narrowly missed entombing seven other miners. The second fall, also called a "squeeze", trapped Lebon in between two large pieces of a room, ahead and behind where he ended up. Thought to be dead, Lebon escaped injury, even directing the rescuers how and where to dig. Source document.|
|1909||Lackawanna No. 4 Mine Explosion, Wehrum, Pennsylvania Twelve miners were unconscious when rescued on the 23rd but were revived through the use of oxygen. They were placed in the temporary hospital, a machine shop, and at 3 p.m. were sent to Spangler on a special train provided by Trainmaster Henry Taylor, of Cresson.|
|1912||Hastings Mine Explosion, Hastings, Colorado Rescuers who entered the Hastings mine early on June 19 returned soon afterward with a Greek, who was badly burned.|
|1915||Rush of mud and water into the Longacre-Chapman Zinc Mine, Neck City, Missouri - Six men were imprisoned. Four were rescued alive after 120 hours of difficult work by company men, volunteers, State mine Inspectors, and Bureau of Mines men. Two men found were dead on the fourteenth day following the accident. Source document.|
|1917||Twenty-five of 29 miners imprisoned on the 2400-foot level of the Speculator Mine of the North Butte Mining Company were brought to the surface after being trapped for 36 hours. They owed their lives to crew member, Manus Duggan, a 20-year-old nipper boy, who didn't make it out himself. According to Nyrja Johnson, the first man to the surface, Duggan directed all the work in their effort to barricade themselves from the gases. He had the men strip naked and use their clothes to block out the toxic gas. Duggan became lost when he went ahead of the crew to test for gases. 163 miners were killed in this disaster. See more. Source document.|
|1918||Short Mountain Colliery Cave-in, Lykens, Pennsylvania Five men were standing timber, when without warning the ground caved, catching all five. One man was able shortly to free himself and went for assistance. Soon a rescue party arrived. In a short time, the party got a man out; with medical assistance his life was saved. The next three men were alive when removed but died soon after; the last man was dead when taken from under the fall.|
|1920||National Mine Cave-in, South Scranton, Pennsylvania Louis Buffalino was freed from a cave-in after an undisclosed period that occurred in the National mine at South Scranton, Pennsylvania. All the time the rescue party was at work, Buffalino kept uttering comforting words to his wife, who stood at the edge of the cave-in watching the rescuers work. Buffalinos companion, Pasquale Ballino, was crushed to death in the incident. Source document.|
|1923||New Mine Cave-in, Bucknell, Indiana Three miners were rescued 80 hours after a cave-n occurred at the New Mine at Bucknell, Indiana. The 3 men were identified as Jim Bertillo, Joe Bernardi, and Frank Maberto. The men were near the shaft when the hoist rope broke and the cage, full of coal, went crashing to the bottom, causing the cave-in. More than 2,500 people waited at the shaft for their rescue. Source document.|
|1925||Unnamed Gold Mine Cave-in, Grass Valley, California Robert Hill was rescued 67 hours after being trapped in a cave-in in an unnamed gold mine at Grass Valley, California. Hill was freed after rescuers drilled for 43 consecutive hours through a barrier of solid rock. Source document.|
|1929||Three miners became ensnared in a cave-in at the 750-foot level of the South Eureka Mine, Sutter Creek, California. George Carevich escaped unaided and reported the accident. After several hours, Thomas Rodovich, who was entombed with Mike Matlick, was taken out alive but badly lacerated. While no further news about Matlick could be found, it was agreed by company officials that his chances of survival were slim. Source document.|
|1933||Joseph Terescavage, a 56-year-old miner, from Shamokin, PA was rescued after having been entombed for two days in the collapsed Madeira Hill mine near Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania. Source document.|
|1936||Caught by crumbling rock and fallen timbers in a Helena, Montana mine, Ed Moore became held firmly by the jam. One of the owners, John Brophy, who was working with him, managed to get out and get help. Despite being warned by Moore not to come down, rescuers worked for four hours to free him and return him to his wife and daughter, who were waiting on the surface. Source document.|
|1938||Butler Slope Explosion, Pittston, Pennsylvania Rescuers were successful in bringing six miners to the surface after an undisclosed period. Seriously injured were John Waskiewicz and Peter Morgantini. They were treated at the Pittston Hospital for skull fractures and severe burns. Others hurt were Warner Posdzich, Peter Wasluk, Patrick Nardone, and Joseph Lusto. Lusto was the only one who reached the surface unaided. Clutching an injured wrist, he staggered out of the mouth. His wife, screaming, darted from the crowd and into his arms.|
|1952||June 2, 1952: Three of five miners were rescued after being trapped for 24 hours by a cave-in at Republic Steel Corporation's Penokee Iron Ore Mine near Ironwood, Michigan. The rescued miners were Victor Cox, Christopher Hocking, and Mack Krecker. The body of Jerome Olkonen was later found by rescuers, lying beside his machine. The fate of the 5th miner, Serafim Zackarzewski, is not known, although mine officials feared he would have been crushed to death in the fall of rock. See More|
|1954||Blue Mountain Mine Cave-in, Cumbola, Pennsylvania Charles Kopinetz, 31, was rescued after being trapped for three hours in the mine operated by the Blue Mountain Coal Company near Cumbola, Pennsylvania. He was taken to the Pottsville Hospital where his condition was described as fairly good as he received treatment for injuries to his back and legs. Source document.|
|1957||Five miners were rescued from the Betsy No. 3 coal mine operated by the Powhatan Mining Company at Fernwood, Ohio. Released from their tomb after their entrapment of 14½ hours were Hank Horvath, Martin Kovalski, Fred Sabol, Joseph Supinski, and Kenny Hamilton. The Betsy No. 3 mine is a small, "punch mining operation" that produces about 600 tons of coal per day. Source document.|
|1962||An 8-year-old boy was responsible for saving two miners caught in a cave-in at the Bull Gulch lead and zinc mine near Jefferson City, Montana. Robert Steinbacher and Henry Madison, who were both in considerable pain, were safely removed from the mine by rescuers after their brief entrapment. Source document.|
|1970||Amateur miner, Clifford J. Cox, was pulled out of the abandoned Hazard Gold Mine near Foresthill, California when he was found laying unconscious after 11 hours in the mine. Would-be rescuer, Lester Benbow, a school teacher, died from a lack of oxygen in the incident. Source document.|
|1971||As a result of a roof fall, two miners were injured and rescued from the clogged section of an underground tunnel which is 700 feet deep and a mile and a half back in the Eastern Associated Coal Company's Federal No. 2 Mine. Also injured and recovered from the mine were Robert Lee Strakal, 24, of Cassville, and Steven Shuman, 29, of Fairmont. Shuman died the next day from his injuries.|
|1974||Mars Hill Bauxite Mine Inundation, Bauxite, Arkansas Sidney Hale, 57, was the lone survivor after being trapped for 13 hours in sandy water up to his chest in the Mars Hill Bauxite mine of the Reynolds Mining Company. Hale and another miner, James Grooms, were caught in what miners call a "sand run." Grooms did not survive the ordeal. Hale said he almost froze to death in the chilly slush, saying he kept moving his arms to maintain body heat. Source document.|
|1977||Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Plum, Pennsylvania Joseph R. Sabot rescued Steven T. Tady following a rock fall, Plum, Pennsylvania, June 15, 1977. In an underground coal mine, a fall of slab rock covered a mining machine and trapped Tady, 27, in the operators compartment. Sabot, 46, mine mechanic, crawled into a crevice in the rocks 10 feet from Tady and began digging a tunnel toward him. As he removed the rocks, Sabot placed shoring in the tunnel, which was about two feet wide and high. After extending the tunnel to the machine, Sabot backed out. Tady, who was uninjured, then crawled from under the rock fall by way of the tunnel. Joseph R. Sabot was bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award for his brave efforts. Source document.|
|1983||McClure No. 1 Mine Explosion, McClure, Virginia Three miners at the faces survived and were rescued shortly after the explosion. Ronald Sluss, Albert Holbrook, and Carson Blackstone were returned to the surface suffering from burns and were taken to hospitals.|
|2011||Jellico No. 1 Mine Inundation, Middlesboro, Kentucky Three mine maintenance workers were set free after being trapped for 14 hours in the flooded Jellico No. 1 mine of the Bell County Coal Company, a subsidiary of the James River Coal Company. The miners became trapped when a collapse near the mine entrance sent water from a swollen drainage ditch gushing into the mine. None of the miners were injured. The three miners were Pernell Witherspoon, Doug Warren, and Russell Asher. Source document.|
|2017||La Farge Gravel Mine Rescue, Placitas, New Mexico Two workers became trapped while working on equipment at the La Farge gravel mine. Attempting their rescue, two others also became engulfed in the material. Two of the workers were buried up to their necks, a third to his chest and the fourth to his waist when emergency personnel arrived. The last man was freed from his confines 6 hours after the incident occurred.|
|Rescuer Deaths in June|
|1873||Henry Clay Colliery Explosion, Shamokin, Pennsylvania Soon after the explosion in the Henry Clay Colliery, John Hays, outside boss, heard the alarm of those who managed to escape, and went into the mine to rescue others. After proceeding about five hundred yards he fell, face down, in a pool of water and drowned.|
|1901||Port Royal No. 2 Mine Explosion and Fire, Port Royal, Pennsylvania The initial blast occurred at about 6 p.m. on June 10. About 1 hour after the initial blast, Superintendent William McCune (or McComb), Dennis Wortley, Michael Roy, several other bosses, along with about 20 other men went down Shaft No. 1 in search of 4 missing miners. About 3 hours after the rescue party had been in the mine, more explosions were heard.
Four hours later, four more men volunteered to enter the mine, but as of 3 a.m. on June 11, they too had not returned. Shortly after 3 a.m., W. Sweeney, Harry Beveridge and Frank Stratton worked their way out of the mine and were put under the care of physicians. All three of these men later died. Lawrence Settler and John Stakes were the only ones rescued from the mine. While 19 is the official death toll, it is unclear exactly how many were rescuers. See all related news
|1906||Rocky Fork Mine Fire, Red Lodge, Montana To suppress a fire, the fan was reversed, which reversed the air current supplying fresh air to the fighters in room 6. This resulted in forcing the noxious gases onto the men fighting the fire in room 6. Six men lost their lives from the crew fighting the fire in room 6, while two of the rescuers, Roy Carey and Joe Bracey, lost their lives in a vain attempt to rescue the men fighting the fire in room 6.|
|1908||Gold King Mine Fire, Gladstone, Colorado After extinguishing the blaze, five rescuers searching for 3 missing miners fell victim to toxic mine air. In all, 6 were killed in the incident, including Victor Erickson, along with rescuers Peter McNini, Roy Coburn, Alf Johnson, A. W. Burns, and Gus Olson. John Sunston and Otto Johnson were returned to the surface barely alive.|
|1966||Dora No. 2 Mine Asphyxiation, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania After cutting into a void, resulting in an inundation of "blackdamp" in the Doverspike Bros. Dora No. 2 mine, two miners were instantly overcome. The other 5 crew members managed to escape, however, three of them returned to help their fallen co-workers and were also overcome. Those immediately affected were Sam Gaul and Ronald Moore. Those attempting rescue included John Kramer, Robert White, and Hilton Neiswonger.|
|1970||Hazard Gold Mine Asphyxiation, Foresthill, California Lester E. Benbow, age 41, schoolteacher, Foresthill Elementary School, was asphyxiated in the Hazard Gold Mine in the early morning of June 20, 1970, when he attempted to rescue Clifford J. Cox, who was overcome in an oxygen deficient atmosphere. He had no mining experience. Cox was later transported to the hospital, and reportedly made a complete recovery.|
|1975||Boron Mine and Mill Asphyxiation, Boron, California About 3:30 p.m., June 25, 1975, W. E. (Willie) Dodderer, millwright, age 27, was asphyxiated when he and Eric R. Willis, millwright, entered a caisson in an attempt to rescue Brent Black, millwright, age 35, who had succumbed earlier in an oxygen deficient atmosphere.|
|1981||Grays Knob No. 5 Inundation, Harlan County, Kentucky The entire section crew, except for two roof bolters, who remained unaccounted for, boarded a scoop to ride to the surface via the man trip route. Soon after, however, the section foreman left the fleeing scoop to search for the two missing roof bolters. Later that afternoon, the bodies of the foreman and the two roof bolters - all victims of asphyxiation - were recovered.|
|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 displayed at the Harwick Mine Disaster in 1904, Andrew Carnegie started the Carnegie Hero Fund . 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.