June 2016 Mine Disaster Anniversaries

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View the planets for this day1910
Union Quarry
Mine Explosion
Devil's Slide, UT
No. Killed - 25


View the planets for this day1938
Butler Slope
Mine Explosion
Pittston, PA
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1919
Baltimore Tunnel 2
Wilkes-Barre, PA
No. Killed - 92


View the planets for this day1924
Mine Explosion
Wilkes-Barre, PA
No. Killed - 14


View the planets for this day1917
Granite Mountain
Mine Fire
Butte, MT
No. Killed - 163

View the planets for this day1925
West Kentucky Mine No. 9
Mine Explosion
Sturgis, WV
No. Killed - 17


View the planets for this day1901
Port Royal 2
Mine Explosion
Port Royal, PA
No. Killed - 19

View the planets for this day1873
Henry Clay
Mine Explosion
Shamokin, PA
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1932
Splashdam No. 6
Mine Explosion
Splashdam, VA
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1844
Black Heath
Mine Explosion
Richmond, VA
No. Killed - 11


View the planets for this day1890
Hill Farm
Mine Fire
Dunbar, PA
No. Killed - 31


View the planets for this day1912
Mine Explosion
Hastings, CO
No. Killed - 12


View the planets for this day1909
Lackawanna No. 4
Mine Explosion
Wehrum, PA
No. Killed - 21


View the planets for this day1887
Gould and Curry
Mine Fire
Virginia City, NV
No. Killed - 11


View the planets for this day1918

Mine Explosion
Virginia, MN
No. Killed - 18


View the planets for this day1896
Roof Fall
Pittston, PA
No. Killed - 58


View the planets for this day1903
Hanna No. 1
Explosion & Fire
Hanna, WY
No. Killed - 169

View the planets for this day1919
Alderson No. 5
Mine Explosion
Alderson, OK
No. Killed - 15

Did You Know? The month of June has accounted for 60 mine disasters in which 905 miners were killed; 19 successful rescues (longest - 120 hrs.); and the death of 37 rescuers in 8 incidents.

Successful Rescue Summary Rescuer Death Summary All June Mine Disasters

Successful Mine Rescues in June
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.
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 documentExternal Link
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 documentExternal Link
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.
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 documentExternal Link
1933 Joseph Terescavage, a 51-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 documentExternal Link
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 documentExternal Link
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, and is not known, although mine officials feared he would have been crushed to death in the fall of rock.  See More
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 14 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 documentExternal Link
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 documentExternal Link
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 documentExternal Link
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.
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 documentExternal Link
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.
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.

Download these documents to read the entire story
Microsoft Word Format Successful Mine Rescues
Listed in descending chronological order, this file contains hundreds of successful rescues in the United States.
Incidents of Rescuer Death
Listed in descending chronological order, this file contains more than 100 incidents of rescuer death in the United States.