May Mine Disaster Anniversaries in 2021


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View the planets for this day1900
Winter Quarters
Mine Explosion
Scofield, UT
No. Killed - 200

View the planets for this day1907
Whipple
Mine Explosion
Scarbro, WV
No. Killed - 16

2


View the planets for this day1972
Sunshine
Mine Fire
Kellogg, ID
No. Killed - 91

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4
5


View the planets for this day1910
Palos No. 3
Mine Explosion
Palos, AL
No. Killed - 84

View the planets for this day1923
Southwestern
Mine Explosion
Aguilar, CO
No. Killed - 10

1943
NuRex
Mine Explosion
LaFollette, TN
No. Killed - 10

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9


View the planets for this day1889
Kaska William
Hoisting Accident
Middleport, PA
No. Killed - 10

View the planets for this day1945
Sunnyside No. 1
Mine Explosion
Sunnyside, UT
No. Killed - 23

10


View the planets for this day1892
Roslyn
Mine Explosion
Roslyn, WA
No. Killed - 45

11


View the planets for this day1943
Praco No. 10
Mine Explosion
Praco, AL
No. Killed - 12

View the planets for this day1904
Big Muddy

Explosives
Herrin, IL
No. Killed - 10

12


View the planets for this day1942
Christopher 3
Mine Explosion
Osage, WV
No. Killed - 56

View the planets for this day1908
Mount Lookout
Mine Explosion
Wyoming, PA
No. Killed - 12

13
14


View the planets for this day1893
Red Jacket Shaft
Hoisting Accident
Calumet, MI
No. Killed - 10

15


View the planets for this day1854
English Coal Pit
Mine Explosion
New Richmond, VA
No. Killed - 20

View the planets for this day1890
Jersey No. 8
Mine Explosion
Ashley, PA
No. Killed - 26

View the planets for this day1901
Chatham
Mine Explosion
Farmington, WV
No. Killed - 10

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View the planets for this day1913
Imperial

Mine Explosion
Belle Valley, OH
No. Killed - 15

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19


View the planets for this day1928
Mather No. 1
Mine Explosion
Mather, PA
No. Killed - 195

View the planets for this day1902
Fraterville
Mine Explosion
Coal Creek, TN
No. Killed - 184

20


View the planets for this day1918
Villa
Mine Fire
Charleston, WV
No. Killed - 13

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22


View the planets for this day1928
Mine No. 1
Mine Explosion
Yukon, WV
No. Killed - 17

View the planets for this day1941
Panhandle No. 2
Mine Explosion
Bicknell, IN
No. Killed - 14

View the planets for this day1891
Pratt No. 1 Shaft
Mine Explosion
Pratt City, AL
No. Killed - 11

23


View the planets for this day1900
Cumnock
Mine Explosion
Cumnock, NC
No. Killed - 23

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View the planets for this day1922
Acmar No. 3
Mine Explosion
Acmar, AL
No. Killed - 11

View the planets for this day1904
Williamstown
Asphyxiation
Williamstown, PA
No. Killed - 10

View the planets for this day1928
Baltimore No. 5
Mine Explosion
Parsons, PA
No. Killed - 10

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View the planets for this day1925
Farmville
Mine Explosion
Coal Glenn, NC
No. Killed - 53

View the planets for this day1901
Richland
Mine Explosion
Dayton, TN
No. Killed - 20

View the planets for this day1871
West Pittston
Asphyxiation
West Pittston, PA
No. Killed - 20

View the planets for this day1929
Connellsville
Mine Explosion
Yolande, AL
No. Killed - 10

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Did You Know? May has produced 73 mine disasters with 5 or more fatalities; 75 successful rescues (longest - 13 days); and the death of 33 rescuers in 14 incidents.

Successful Mine Rescues Rescuer Deaths All May Mine Disasters

Successful Mine Rescues in May
1856 Blue Rock Coal Mine Cave-in, Zanesville, Ohio — Four miners trapped for more than — 13 days — by a cave-in at the Blue Rock mine near Zanesville, Ohio were rescued.  Source document PDF Format
1871 West Pittston Colliery Fire, West Pittston, Pennsylvania — The anticipation was palpable as rescuers worked through the night and into the next day.  At 12:30 a.m. (10 hours later) they brought Andrew Morgan to the surface in an unconscious state.  Learning that more miners had barricaded, they sent out for more men and tools.  Up to 22 hours after the fire was first discovered, around twenty more miners, not more than alive were brought out.  Only one or two recovered enough to give an account of themselves.  It is not known how many of those rescued survived.
1877 Wadesville Colliery Mine Fire, Wadesville, Pennsylvania — Men working in other parts of the mine knew that something terrible had happened, and rushed to learn the fate of their comrades.  They found seven miners so terribly burned and bruised that one of them died in a short time.  James Libby was brought out alive, but died in a few hours.  He was fearfully burned.
1880 Ludington No. 2 Mine Cave-in, Norway, Michigan — Sixteen miners were caught in a cave-in in the Ludington No. 2 iron mine of the Lumberman Mining Company.  An alarm was immediately given and miners from other parts of the mine set actively to work releasing the imprisoned men.  The half-suffocated cries could be heard growing fainter and fainter.  After an undisclosed period, entrance was made and thirteen of the entombed were rescued uninjured.  The remaining three were taken out dead.  Source document PDF Format
1890 Three badly injured miners: Anthony Froyne; fire boss John Allen; and Robert W. Roberts were rescued from the Jersey No. 8 mine of the Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company following a cave-in and explosion.  Their entrapment ranged from 9 to 14 hours.  Sadly, all three men died from their extensive injuries after their rescue.  Ironically, it was asserted that John Allen’s lamp caused the explosion.  Had he not done so, all could have been rescued alive, as there was a current of air going through the chamber where the men had taken refuge, after the cave-in had taken place.  See more.
1892 Anaconda Mine Cave-in, Butte, Montana — Following a cave-in in the Anaconda mine, Frank Agassin was rescued after 55 hours.  He was the sole survivor of a disaster which took the lives of 9 other miners.  Amazingly, he spent the entire time imprisoned in a space which measured 1.5 ft. x 2.0 ft. x 4 ft.  Source document PDF Format
1894 Rescuers needed to dig through a wall of rock 6-feet thick to free Theobald Wackley from the brutal conditions of his imprisonment.  Mr. Wackley was released after being trapped for 18 hours following a cave-in in the Highland No. 2 mine near Hazleton, Pennsylvania.  Overwhelmed by a mass of fallen coal, Wackley spent the entire time waiting to be rescued in a kneeling position.  Despite his helpless condition, Wackley cheered the rescuers on in their work.  Source document PDF Format
1896 Ashland Mine Cave-in, Ironwood, Michigan — Eight miners became trapped by a cave-in in the Ashland mine at Ironwood, Michigan.  At the time of the initial fall, no great amount of ground had fallen and communication with the imprisoned men was still possible.  The men were all unharmed and in a safe place, and it was said that with the aid of a rope they could he rescued.  Before additional help arrived, another huge piece of ground fell and it was impossible to reach the men.  After an undisclosed period, all eight men were rescued.  Source document PDF Format
1900 Cumnock Mine Explosion, Cumnock, North Carolina — The accident was in what was known as the east heading.  Between forty and fifty men were in the mine at the time.  Five were brought out alive from the east heading after an undisclosed period, while none of the men in the other parts of the mine were injured.
1901 Unnamed Coal Mine Fire, Salinesville, Ohio — Patrick Connelly was rescued from a burning mine at Salinesville where he had been confined since the night before.  Connelly had been in the mine tending to some pumps near the bottom of the shaft when all escape was cut off.  When rescuers were able to reach him, he was alive but almost exhausted.  Source document PDF Format
1903 Tombstone Mine Cave-in, Tombstone, Arizona — George Pollock, a miner, narrowly escaped death while working on the 600-foot level in one of the mines.  For three hours, Pollock lay buried underneath several hundred pounds of rock, while hardy miners dug him out.  All the time he suffered a great deal, but stood the ordeal bravely.  Pollock was at work in a winze, when, without warning, a large part of the overhanging wall fell upon him.  He tried to get out of the way, but the rock had him pinned down before he could take a step.  Source document PDF Format
1906 Hazel Kirk Mine No. 1 Fire, Washington, Pennsylvania — Three hundred miners were rescued from the fire in the Hazel Kirk Mine No. 1 of the Pittsburg and Westmoreland Coal Company.  A trapper boy had volunteered to go into the mine and warn the men, and gained an entrance through a winding stairway in the air shaft.  While the men outside fought the flames with buckets of water and kept the blaze from the air shaft, miners poured from the pit.  The mules in the mine, almost suffocated by smoke, stampeded, and were beyond control eighty feet from the surface.  Source document PDF Format
Unnamed Fairview Mine Cave-in, Fairview, Nevada — While working on the stope in a mine at Fairview, Felix Noe was buried under thirty-seven feet of dirt, rock and timbers, which caved in on him.  A rescue party worked for hours getting him out.  He was badly injured internally.  Source document PDF Format
1907 Mandabach Mine Cave-in, Washington, Indiana — Joseph Summer, 50, was buried alive beneath several tons of coal in Mandabach’s mines.  It required almost an hour for workmen to dig him out.  He was still alive when rescued, but so badly injured that it was believed he would die.  Source document PDF Format
1908 Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Salineville, Ohio — Francis C. Skinner, 32, stationary engineer, died attempting to rescue Wesley J. Wright, 48, and John W. Rowe, 36, in a mine, Salineville, Ohio, May 27, 1908.  Wright and Rowe were disabled by an explosion, and Skinner, with others, was lowered 180 feet down a shaft, where the carriage stuck, ropes being used to get to the bottom 20 feet farther.  Having been released from debris, Wright was being carried to the shaft when a piece of timber fell, striking Skinner on the head and killing him instantly.  Francis C. Skinner was posthumously bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award.  Source document External Link  
1909 Pennsylvania Coal No. 6 Mine Explosion & Fire, Inkerman, Pennsylvania — James M. Flanigan, 20, mine car tender, rescued William Derrig, 19, and John W. Mullery, 21, in the Pennsylvania Coal No. 6 Mine at Inkerman, Pennsylvania after an explosion.  Flanigan went into an abandoned drift, immediately following an explosion of gas, and brought out Derrig.  He returned, others refusing to go with him, and got Mullery.  Both Derrig and Mullery were severely injured and Derrig died one week later.  Flanigan's hands were burned from beating out fire in the men's clothing, and he was disabled 18 days.  In April 1916, James Flanigan was bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award along with $1,000 cash for his bravery.  Source document 1 PDF Format  Source document 2 PDF Format  
1912 Norrie Mine, Oliver Iron Mining Company, Ironwood, Michigan - A party of 10 miners and 3 trammers on the night shift was walking home from the boundary of the property above the twentieth level of the mine.  Hearing ground dropping, they retreated to what they thought was a safe place, the main drift, which was securely timbered and had 35 to 40 feet of solid ore above it.  The cave, however, did not occur at the place where the men had been working, but in the very place of refuse to which they had retreated, crushing in the drift timbers over a length of about 80 feet.  Six men were rescued alive after about 24 hours, but one died about a week later.  In all, 7 miners were killed.  See more.
1913 Imperial Mine Explosion, Belle Valley, Ohio — After an undisclosed period, rescuers found Roy Yeager about 300 feet from the scene of the explosion.  Yeager, who was alive, was unable to rise on account of a broken leg, and he probably owes his life to the broken leg.  Lying on the floor, he did not inhale the fumes of the afterdamp.  The rescue party carried him to a mine car and started toward the entrance.
1914 Central Mine Cave-in, Grass Valley, California — His face, shoulders and arms buried in dirt and rock, Hugh McCann managed to attract the attention of other men in the Central mine by wiggling his feet and escaped possible death following an undisclosed period.  When he was rescued from his painful plight, he was almost stifled.  Aside from a badly bruised face and slight lacerations of the hand, he was none the worse for the accident.  Source document PDF Format
Mary D Colliery Hoisting Disaster, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania — An over hoist accident occurred in the tower of the south hoist way, main shaft of the Mary D Colliery, when the self-dumping cage containing 8 men was hoisted above the dumping chute in the shaft tower.  Six men were instantly killed, 5 falling into the opening over the shaft.  Five men fell to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of 600 feet.  One man fell to the surface, landing 20 feet below the dumping chute and was also killed.  The seventh man was thrown into the dump chute, sustaining a fractured leg and lacerations about the head.  The eighth man clung to the crosshead of the cage and when rescued after an undisclosed period was found to be suffering from shock and a few scratches.
1915 Wanamie Colliery Cave-in, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania — Buried beneath tons of coal and other fallen debris for nearly one hour, Jacob Dombrow was rescued alive from the mines of the Wanamie Colliery of the Lehigh & Wilkes-Barre Coal Company.  Source document PDF Format
1917 Abandoned Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Pittston, Pennsylvania — Two boys, Sylvester W. McKeon, age 12 and Robert E. Fear, age 13, were rescued after they descended the slope of a hole that had caved in the ground and entered the chamber of an old mine to gather coal.  They were caught by a fall of earth overhanging the entrance to the chamber.  Sylvester was buried to his hips, and Robert was buried to his chest.  Cracks at the top of the hole and the dropping of clay earth overhanging the chamber indicated another cave-in was imminent.  Their rescuers were Michael J. Franklin, Edward F. Norton, and Patrick J. Gallagher, both track layers.  After an undisclosed period, the men first extracted Sylvester followed by Robert.  The three men were awarded the Carnegie Hero Award for their bravery.  Source document External Link  
1919 After almost 10 hours of tunneling, Andrew Coshosky, trapped under a fall of slate in the Old Colony Mine, Ligonier, Pennsylvania, was rescued and expected to recover.  Covered to a depth of 30 feet, the only way to reach him was to drive a tunnel under the fallen mass of rock.  Source document External Link
Nottingham Mine Asphyxiations, Plymouth, Pennsylvania — Forty men were overcome by blackdamp in the Nottingham Mine of the Lehigh & Wilkesbarre Coal Company at Plymouth.  All were brought to the surface.  There were no fatalities, but the condition of most of the men was serious.  Source document PDF Format
George F. Lee Coal Mine Asphyxiations, Avondale, Pennsylvania — Blackdamp overcame five employees of the George F. Lee Coal Company in the Avondale section of Plymouth township and six or eight others were more or less effected by inhaling the dangerous fumes.  Prompt and heroic action on the part of fellow employees who risked their own lives, saved the lives of the five men who were overcome.  The men who were overcome were carried out of the mine and given first aid treatment at the company emergency hospital.  Source document PDF Format
Abandoned Mine Asphyxiations, Greensburg, Pennsylvania — Wasall Kircera gave up his life while trying to save three boys from death in an abandoned mine, where blackdamp was known to escape from the old workings.  The boys were playing and soon became senseless under the influence of the deadly gas.  Kircera saw the boys’ peril, plunged down into the hole and hurled two of them to the outside.  Then Kircera fell, overcome by the gas fumes.  A friend went down after him and, after throwing the remaining boy out, dragged Kircera up the bank.  The gas was too much for Kircera and he died in a few minutes, while his friend was in a serious condition and not expected to live.  Source document PDF Format
1920 Deering Mine No. 8 Cave-in, Clinton, Indiana — Andrew Steen, fire boss at the Deering Coal Company mine No. 8 lay for more than five hours, expecting to be killed any moment before he was found by workmen entering the mine.  The heavy weight on his chest prevented him from calling for help.  He was pinned under three tons of slate, unable to move anything except his head and one hand with heavy pieces of slate falling all around him.  Source document PDF Format
1921 Old Midwest Mine Fire, Henderson, Kentucky — Upward of 100 miners were employed at the Old Midwest mine of the Southland Coal Company at the time the fire started and several of them were rescued through the air shaft before the tipple fell.  The others escaped through an air shaft.  Although none was injured, several suffered from the effects of the smoke. Source document PDF Format
1923 Hoosier Mine Lost Person, Globe, Arizona — Frank Chadwick, a prospector, was recuperating from his horrifying experience, when he was lost 24 hours in the bowels of the earth after his lamp went out while he was exploring the famous crystalline cavern of the Hoosier mine near Globe.  Searching parties brought him to the surface after he had spent a day and night aimlessly wandering in the cavernous depths.  He was suffering severely from nervous shock and cold and from lack of food and water.  Source document PDF Format
1924 Black Iron Mine Cave-in, Gilman, Colorado — Five miners entombed for 3 days in the Black Iron Mine of the Empire Zinc Mining Company were rescued when a drift was driven through virgin granite to the slope in which the men were confined.  Source document PDF Format
1926 Mount Lookout Mine Fire, Wyoming, Pennsylvania — Between 60 and 70 miners trapped behind a fire in the Mount Lookout mine were all safely rescued and accounted for after an undisclosed period.  The hero of the rescue was the mine foreman, Thomas Heslop, who led the miners back through the gangway where they erected lattice work lifting themselves to an airshaft where they remained until the flames were extinguished.  Source document PDF Format
1927 Delagua No. 3 Mine Explosion, Delagua, Colorado — One hundred and thirty two men were in the Delagua No. 3 mine at the time of the blast and all with the exception of the dead and one injured man reached the surface safely through air shafts.  John Walker, 62, was seriously injured and was brought out of the mine four hours after the explosion.
1928 Frank Bucsha was found alive and said to be in good condition after he was found 55 hours following the Mather Mine explosion in Mather, Pennsylvania on May 19, 1928.  195 miners were killed in the blast of the mine owned by Pickands-Mather and Company.  Another miner, John Wade, was rescued from the same mine after 147 hours.  Mine officials said he must have been wandering around in the mine and was missed by the rescuers.  Source document External Link
1929 Nesquehoning Colliery Cave-in, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania — John Prelana, 40, was rescued after being buried alive for fourteen hours from a fall of rock in the No. 2 shaft of the Nesquehoning colliery, near Tamaqua.  Andrew Sweetick, 38, died in the accident.  Source document PDF Format
1931 Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Clearfield, Pennsylvania — Seven youths were rescued from a mine in which they had been trapped by a cave-in for 10 hours.  Rescue workers cut a shaft from the top of a hill overlooking the mine and pulled the youths to safety with ropes.  Two sons of the owner of the mine were digging coal when the five other youths entered and asked them to play baseball.  The seven started for the entrance, but near the surface their car jumped the track and struck a prop.  The roof collapsed, and slate closed the entrance.  Source document PDF Format
1932 San Gabriel Canyon Gold Mine Cave-in, Covina, California — Mrs. Naomi Jarvis was killed when a cave-in occurred in an unnamed gold mine in the San Gabriel Canyon near Covina, California.  Mrs. Jarvis and another miner, David Workman, were caught in the collapse.  Mr. Workman was freed from the material by rescuers after an undisclosed period.  Source document PDF Format
1933 Unnamed Mine Rock Slide, Feather River Canyon, California — Imprisoned for hours by a rock slide in the Feather River Canyon, Frank Bane, 62, miner, was recovering in a hospital at Quincy, California because his dog hovered close to him and kept him warm and because rescue workers refused to give up efforts to save him.  He was rescued by sixteen men, who worked feverishly to extricate him when he was pinned beneath a mass of rocks and dirt that broke both his legs, a shoulder and several ribs.  He was brought to Quincy on a stretcher.  Source document PDF Format
1934 Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Scranton, Pennsylvania — Trapped more than three hours by a slide of earth and shale while he was cutting coal in a mine opening, Charles Mickel, 38, today owed his life to a rescue squad which worked to free him despite the constant danger of another slide.  Immediately upon his exit from death, Mickel was greeted by law enforcement and taken into custody on charges of forcible entry, assault and battery, and malicious mischief made by Mrs. Helen Smith.  Source document PDF Format
Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Tremont, Pennsylvania — Frank Houser, 44, of Tremont, had a miraculous escape from death by suffocation when he was buried yesterday under a rush of coal near his home while engaged with other workmen in screening culm from an abandoned bank.  He was caught in a hole when the sides collapsed and was held prisoner 15 minutes before fellow toilers effected his rescue.  Houser, victim of internal injuries and shock, was removed to the Pottsville hospital.  Source document PDF Format
Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Pine Grove, Pennsylvania — Entombed for seven hours James Farrell, 22, of Lorberry Junction, near Pine Grove, was rescued from a mine hole in which he was digging coal.  Rushed to a hospital, he was treated for shock and held for observation of possible internal injuries.  Farrell was digging with another man on a private mining property when the timbers gave way and buried him under a rush of earth.  His companion escaped.  Source document PDF Format
1935 Simpson Mine Cave-in, Carbondale, Pennsylvania — George Gill, 40, has his foreman John Yancheck to thank for being rescued alive after being trapped under a fall of rock in a slope of the Simpson Coal Company when Yancheck imperiled his own life to return to his fellow workman.  With only his hands and a stick, the only instrument available, Yancheck removed a huge pile of loose culm and dirt from his head, saving him from being smothered while others were coming to his rescue.  He was left with all except his head buried under a mass of rock and dirt, and it was nearly five hours that his body was entirely uncovered, permitting his removal.  Gill was transferred by ambulance to St. Joseph's Hospital where he was found to be not dangerously hurt, suffering from bruises of the body and shock.  Source document PDF Format
1936 Abandoned Mine Rescue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Two would-be copper thieves were rescued and arrested 15 hours after they became lost in an abandoned coal mine near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Police arrested Arthur Tonner, 35, and Robert Dyer, 36, after they were rescued from 15 miles of tunnels by a crew from the U. S. Bureau of Mines.  The officers said Tonner and Dyer went into the mine to hunt copper wire while another man, Edwin Miller, 35, stayed above ground, on guard. Miller was also arrested.  Source document PDF Format
1937 Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania — William Hosler, 26, was rescued after a 20-hour entombment in a bootleg Anthracite coal hole.  Hosler suffered possible fractures of his left arm and right leg.  Twelve fellow miners helped to remove the tons of earth that trapped him.  Source document PDF Format
1938 Oliver Jones Mine Hoisting Accident, Commerce, Oklahoma — While being hoisted out of the old Oliver Jones Mine in a bucket, the cable snapped and Bill Sholtz and Dick Kelton plummeted to the 200-foot level causing an avalanche.  Mr. Sholtz and his fellow passenger were hemmed in and crushed by rocks.  Both Mr. Kelton's legs were broken.  Writhing in agony, the men did not give up hope.  They prayed for a swift rescue.  It came two and a half hours later.  Men summoned by the hoist operator dug them out and carried them to the surface.  Mr. Sholtz died in a Miami, Oklahoma hospital two hours after his rescue.  Mr. Kelton was on serious condition.  The rescuers' work did not end when the two men were taken out.  Trapped with them at the 200-foot level were four other men.  With the hoist shattered and the shaft entrance blocked, their one avenue of escape was blocked.  They huddled together in the darkness while men from nearby mines flocked with picks and shovels to aid in the rescue work.  The rescuers finally dug through an abandoned slope connecting with the Oliver Jones mine and carried out the trapped men.  The mine, abandoned years before as "played out ," had been rented by the seven men who manned it.  Through makeshift operations, they sought to eke a living out of the abandoned property.  The practice was known as "gouging" and was common in the tri-state zone.  The bucket and the initial avalanche struck and killed Fred R. Rosson.  Source document PDF Format
1939 Rescuers worked for 15 hours to free 60-year-old Joseph Babatsky after a fall of clay in a "bootleg" anthracite coal mine near Shenandoah in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.  Thirty rescuers began the work shortly after the fall and as they neared him, he instructed them how to proceed.  Source document External Link
Robert Galligan was rescued from a "bootleg" anthracite mine near Shenandoah, Pennsylvania after a cave-in trapped him in the mine for 65 hours.  During the rescue, he was heard joking and singing.  Source document External Link
Star of Utah Tunnel Cave-in, Keetley, Utah — After being trapped for nine hours by a cave-in of the Star of Utah tunnel, eight men were rescued.  The Star of Utah tunnel, owned by the New Park Mining Company, was being used by the Park City Utah Mines Company as a means of egress to its workings.  It is a little more than eight miles southwest from Keetley and about three miles in an airline east from Park City.  It is reached by a high, winding road. None of the eight men trapped was injured, and a statement from the company said they suffered only the inconvenience of awaiting discovery.  Discovery of the cave-in was made by miners returning from their work in the Wasatch tunnel.  Source document PDF Format
1940 Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania — Joseph Nolan, 47, was in a serious condition in Ashland Hospital with head, back and internal injuries suffered under a fall in a bootleg mine operation near his home.  Nolan was engaged in dressing down shattered coal in the working place when the top broke, almost completely burying the miner.  He was rescued by fellow workers after an undisclosed period and taken at once to the hospital.  Source document PDF Format
Walker Mine Explosion and Fire, Walker Mine, California — Ross Nicely, 45, was the last of three miners rescued from the burning Walker mine.  Two other men were brought to safety earlier.  Trapped for 7½ hours, Mr. Nicely emerged from the mine with a rescue crew consisting of seven Grass Valley miners and three company men.  The crew was the second to go into the shafts after the explosion and fire were discovered.  Source document PDF Format
1942 Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Shamokin, Pennsylvania — Louis Bogetti, 32, was rescued from a 350-foot bootleg coal mine in which he lay trapped and partially buried for 38 hours.  Bogetti said that when the fall occurred, he dove beneath a chute for protection, but was unable to pull in his legs before they were pinned.  He said he lay face down until rescued, unable to move.  Bogetti was transported to the State hospital where doctors said he suffered nothing worse than bruises of the legs and a shoulder.  Source document PDF Format
1943 NuRex Mine Explosion, LaFollette, Tennessee — Eighteen coal miners, huddling behind a hastily erected canvas barrier nearly 2,000 feet underground, survived an explosion that rocked the Etna Coal and Coke Company mine and suffocated ten of their companions.  The miners, fighting against the deadly fumes of "black damp" for more than eight hours, stumbled and crawled from their barricaded cell as rescue parties freed them.
1948 Bootleg Anthracite Mine Inundation, Shamokin, Pennsylvania — Edward Heck and Peter Gorton were rescued from a bootleg Anthracite mine near Shamokin, Pennsylvania following their 60-hour entrapment from an inundation of water from an adjoining abandoned mine.  The men said they believed their companion, Charles Bashore, was trapped in the lowest part of the mine and had no chance to escape.
1950 Biscontini Mine Cave-in, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania — Edmund F. Gorka, 28, was rescued after spending 15 hours trapped by a fall of coal and dirt in a mine operated by the Biscontini Coal Company near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  Prior to him being set free, rescuers hammered a steel tube through tons of debris to get fresh air to him.  His co-worker, Thomas Dembski, 21, had narrowly missed being trapped with him and managed to get free and sound the alarm.  Source document PDF Format
1955 Unnamed Mine Fall of Person, Kellogg, Idaho — Horace Beebe, 40, was buried under 20 feet of ore and muck for 1½ hours after falling 70 feet down a chute into the material.  Thinking they were searching for a dead man, rescuers elected to dump the ore into rail cars instead of digging down from the top.  With one car filled, Beebe shot from the car feet first.  He was black all over but conscious, by all accounts he should have been dead.  When they arrived at the hospital Beebe got up from the basket rescuers were carrying him in and started walking down the hall, telling all he was going to take a shower.  Horace and his brother Gerald were operating the mine under a lease from the Sidney Mining Company.  Source document PDF Format
Abandoned Mine Fall of Person, Cloverdale, California — Floyd Whittaker was recovering at his home in traction after he was seriously injured when he fell down a shaft at a mine on the Geyser Road.  He suffered a fractured cervical spine, multiple fractures of the right thumb and contusions and abrasions of the body.  He was brought to a local facility and given treatment and then taken to his home and his back put in traction.  Source document PDF Format
1957 50-year-old Cantrell Owens was rescued from an abandoned Kentucky coal mine near Harlan after spending more than 2 days lost in mine.  Rescuers had to give up the search once because of the foul air they encountered.  Source document External Link
Donegan Mine Cave-in, Richwood, West Virginia — William C. Richmond was rescued after being trapped for 74 hours in the mine operated by the Donegan Coal & Coke Company about 18 miles from Richwood.  This was Mr. Richmond’s eighth shift as a coal miner.  Richmond was without food, water, or light until rescuers found him.  Source document PDF Format
1958 24 miners, trapped for more than 15 hours, were rescued from a flooded Boone County Coal Corporation mine in Logan, West Virginia.  There were no deaths reported in this accident.  Source document External Link
Wharton No. 2 Mine Roof Fall, West Virginia — Resulting from a roof fall in the Wharton No. 2 mine, one employee was rescued after being pinned against an air compressor for 5 hours.  Four miners were killed in the accident.
Unnamed Potash Mine Cave-in, Carlsbad, New Mexico — A 60-year-old miner took refuge under a shuttle car and was saved after an undisclosed period as the roof of a potash mine caved in, killing the man working with him.  Lori K. Boll, the rescued man, was in fair shape in Memorial Hospital at Carlsbad after being miraculously rescued from the underground pillar "country" mine, where he was trapped 900 feet below the surface.  A fellow miner, Joe Cattaeno, around 50, apparently died instantly when the avalanche of rock and dirt thundered down.  Source document PDF Format
1959 Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Beaver Dam, Kentucky — Three miners were rescued in good shape from a 41-hour ordeal in a caved-in hillside coal mine at Beaver Dam, Kentucky.   The three were freed early Sunday when a mechanical coal mole ground through 496 feet of earth and rocks into the 12 by 120 feet room in which they were stranded.   The cave-in occurred when rocks over the men shifted down and closed off mine entrances.  Source document PDF Format
Ken Coal Company Mine Cave-in, Beaver Dam, Kentucky — The main thing when you re trapped underground is to "keep together, keep level-headed and wait."  This is the way Jake Lewis, 39, put it after he and two other exhausted miners crawled to safety after 41 hours of imprisonment in a western Kentucky coal shaft.  "I'm thankful we got out, we felt real good," said Lewis.  "We're just thankful to the Lord and to the men that done it."  A machine that cuts and loads coal in the same operation dug rescuers a path to reach Lewis, Earl Bennett, 50; and Don McClernon, 53.  A roof cave-in caught the three miners 90 feet underground and 500 feet from the shaft entrance at the Ken Coal Company mine.  "We slept 30 or 40 minutes at a time, then we'd get cold.  We'd have to move around to get warmed back up," said Lewis.  The men had a watch to tell time, small lights, and plenty of fresh air.  They drank water and milk piped through a tube used as a sprinkler system.  A telephone cable kept them in touch with the outside.  Earl Bennett survived a 1928 explosion at West Frankfort, Illinois, that killed 21 miners.  Source document PDF Format
1968 Inundation of water at the Saxsewell No. 8 Mine in Hominy Falls, WV.  Fifteen men were rescued 5 days later and six others were rescued 10 days after the inundation occurred.  Source document External Link
1972 Two men, Tom Wilkinson and Ronald Flory, were rescued and found to be in good condition after being trapped for 8 days following the Sunshine silver mine fire in Kellogg, Shoshone County, Idaho.  91 miners were killed in the disaster.  The four men responsible for the rescue were Wayne D. Kanack, Frank J. Delimba, and Don Morris from the U. S. Bureau of Mines, and Sonny Becker, a Sunshine miner.  Source document External Link
1974 Trona Mine Shaft Cave-in, Green River, Wyoming — Joe Beaucamp, 28, was rescued after being trapped for 23½ hours in a new trona mine shaft being dug at the Allied Chemical Company plant west or Green River, Wyoming.  He was trapped Tuesday evening when he fell 80 feet from a scaffold during a cave-in, 1500 feet underground.  Beaucamp, whose leg was pinned by a large piece of timber, almost was freed 10 hours after he was trapped, but another cave-in covered him again up to his nostrils.  Doctors said Beaucamp suffered from exposure and was dehydrated, but otherwise was in good condition.  Source document PDF Format
1975 Robena Mine Roof Fall, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania — A Fairbank man was rescued after being trapped when a mine car derailment triggered a roof fall at the Robena Mine’s Colvin Shaft.  Billy Grant, a main line brakeman was safely removed from the mine and transported to the West Virginia University Hospital in Morgantown where he was undergoing examination and treatment.  A company spokesman said a main-line empty trip derailed causing the fall.  Mine employees installed temporary roof supports and removed Mr. Grant from the area after an undisclosed period.  A physician at the scene underground reported Grant in good condition.  Source document PDF Format
1982 Magma Mine Cave-in, Superior, Arizona — Three miners died between 5:30 and 6 p.m., on May 10, 1982 in three separate incidents that involved a cave-in and fall-of-ground in the Magma Copper Mine in Superior, Arizona.  During a daring rescue and recovery which lasted through May 12th, one of the victims was recovered from the dangerous area, however, he died shortly thereafter from his injuries.  Joseph Granillo was also entrapped in the same manner, and while his rescue was being attempted, both he and his would-be rescuer, Joseph Cassaro, were killed when additional material fell.  For their brave efforts, the Carnegie Hero Award was bestowed upon Frank Aldecoa, Andy J. Arroyos, Jr., Billy Ray Evans, Henry Lopez Rodriguez, George Anthony Gomez, G. Michael Martinez (posthumously), and Joseph Cassaro (posthumously).  Source document ”External  
1987 Abandoned Mine Fall of Person, Pinos Altos, New Mexico — A 17-year-old was rescued about seven hours after he had fallen about 90 feet down a mine shaft west of Pinos Altos, New Mexico authorities said.  He was taken by helicopter to Gila Regional Medical Center, Silver City, where he was treated for a broken leg and cuts.  Source document PDF Format
1990 Abandoned Lorman Mine Rescue, Twentynine Palms, California — Jeff Smith, 29, was lifted from the mine after an undisclosed period by a rescue team from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.  The 240-pound Smith and two friends had lowered themselves by rope into the 85-foot deep Lorman Mine.  They were climbing out of the mine when a rock dislodged and broke Smith’s arm.  His friends lowered Smith to the floor of the mine.  They intended to use the ropes and their car to pull him out, but the car would not start.  One friend found some members of a ham radio operators’ group that notified authorities, who dispatched the rescue team.  Source document PDF Format
2002 Abandoned Mine Rescue, Kern County, California — While riding his dirt bike in a remote part of Kern County, California, a 10-year-old boy fell 200 feet into an abandoned mine shaft.  In a rescue which lasted several hours and was executed by the Indian Wells Valley Mine Rescue Team and the Kern County Fire Department, the boy and his rescuer, Sean Halpin, were raised to the surface.  The victim was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was kept 24 hours for observation and then released.
2005 Rouchleau Mine Rescue, Virginia, Minnesota — Charles Grant and Joseph Kure, both 18, were rescued from the Rouchleau Mine late Thursday and early Friday when rescuers rappelled along the pit wall where the two were stranded.  The teens became trapped about 200 feet into the pit, after they apparently walked into it while exploring a trail.  A Virginia firefighter rappelled down to Kure, attached a "pickoff" harness strap to the teen, and lowered him to safety.  A rescue squad member then rappelled to Grant and lowered him.  Neither required medical treatment.  Rescue crews worked for about two hours atop a barren edge of the pit to establish a secure rescue location.  Source document PDF Format
2006 Darby No. 1 Mine Explosion, Holmes Mill, Kentucky — Paul Ledford, roof bolter, was rescued after more than 2 hours following the explosion.  Ledford had traveled approximately 1,050 feet in the No. 5 Entry where he collapsed and lost consciousness.  He regained consciousness at approximately 3:05 a.m. and crawled into the No. 6 Entry, where he was discovered by rescuers.  He was then taken out of the mine on a battery-powered personnel carrier and transported to Lonesome Pine Hospital in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, where he was treated.
2017 Unnamed noncoal mine, Tooele County, Utah — Trent Widdop, 27, of American Fork, fell into a mine shaft on his UTV (utility task vehicle) at about 2:00 a.m. while searching for firewood.  The UTV lodged in the shaft at a depth of about 15-20 feet, but Widdop fell off the vehicle.  He fell 15-20 feet to a ledge and then slid another 50 feet to the bottom of the shaft.  His family began searching for him when he did not return to camp and finally located the UTV around 5:00 a.m., when they called 911.  Crews from the Utah County Sheriff’s office, Tooele County Sheriff’s office, Unified Fire Authority, and Tooele County Search and Rescue responded.  Search and Rescue retrieved Widdop from the shaft and he was flown to the hospital with serious injuries.  Source document PDF Format
2018 Hi-Crush Sand Mine, Whitehall, Wisconsin — Robbie Gunderson was rescued at the Hi-Crush sand mine near Whitehall, Wisconsin when the bulldozer he was operating went into the holding pond and became submerged under several feet of water.  As the rescue efforts began, some 10 million gallons of water were released from the pond to lower its level the company statement said.  Officials at Hi-Crush said Gunderson was underwater for 2½ hours before he was rescued.
2020 Abandoned Mine Shaft Rescue, New River, Arizona — After an undisclosed period, firefighters rescued a teenage boy from an abandoned mine shaft after he fell about 50 feet while driving an all-terrain vehicle in a desert area in the northern outskirts of metro Phoenix.  The 17-year-old boy was taken to hospital for evaluation after being pulled out of the shaft near New River.  No information was released about possible injuries but a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman said the boy was alert and speaking with rescuers.  Rescuers arriving at the scene found the boy at the bottom of the shaft with the ATV on top of him.  Personnel from the Glendale, Daisy Mountain, Phoenix and Peoria fire departments participated in the rescue.  Source document PDF Format

Rescuer Deaths in May
1904 Williamstown Colliery Asphyxiations, Williamstown, Pennsylvania — Nine of the ten men killed and all of the forty overcome by the sulphurous fumes in a tunnel of the Williamstown Colliery of the Summit Branch Mining Company at Williamstown, were members of a relief party.  Enoch Morgan was the first man killed.  The rest of the victims were members of the rescuing party, which at one time was made up of more than 100 men.  Intimation of the presence of extraordinary amounts of sulphurous gas in the mine was first gotten by miners who were walking through the tunnel.  Shortly afterward a train came through and picked up some of these men who were overcome and hurried them to the Williams Valley side.  A relief train, loaded with reserves and members of the night shift, was hurriedly made up and sent into the mine to rescue the others.  Before the train had gotten any great distance the rescuers started to explore the mine, and in a short while these men were tottering and fell to the ground either fatally stricken or seriously overcome.  Investigators concluded that the victims were suffocated by coal gas from the locomotive, the accumulation of which at this particular time was due to high temperature on the surface, the effect of which caused the air to reverse, nullifying the action of the fan.  Source document PDF Format
1906 Abandoned Mine Asphyxiations, Greensburg, Pennsylvania — Wasall Kircera gave up his life while trying to save three boys from death in an abandoned mine, where blackdamp was known to escape from the old workings.  The boys were playing and soon became senseless under the influence of the deadly gas.  Kircera saw the boys’ peril, plunged down into the hole and hurled two of them to the outside.  Then Kircera fell, overcome by the gas fumes.  A friend went down after him and, after throwing the remaining boy out, dragged Kircera up the bank.  The gas was too much for Kircera and he died in a few minutes, while his friend was in a serious condition and not expected to live.  Source document PDF Format
1907 Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Rossiter, Pennsylvania — David Pittsley, 27, mine wireman, died attempting to save Michael Maloney, 42, from a mine cave-in, Rossiter, Pennsylvania, May 6, 1907.  Maloney was knocked to the ground by a fall of rock, and, without taking time to ascertain whether there was further danger, Pittsley ran to the spot.  While he endeavored to release Maloney, both were killed by a second fall.  Mr. Pittsley was posthumously bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award for his bravery.  Source document External Link  
1908 Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Salineville, Ohio — Francis C. Skinner, 32, stationary engineer, died attempting to rescue Wesley J. Wright, 48, and John W. Rowe, 36, in a mine, Salineville, Ohio, May 27, 1908.  Wright and Rowe were disabled by an explosion, and Skinner, with others, was lowered 180 feet down a shaft, where the carriage stuck, ropes being used to get to the bottom 20 feet farther.  Having been released from debris, Wright was being carried to the shaft when a piece of timber fell, striking Skinner on the head and killing him instantly.  Francis C. Skinner was posthumously bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award.  Source document External Link  
1911 Hartford Mine Fire, Negaunee, Michigan — Within 1 hour after the discovery of the fire, an attempt was made to begin rescue operations without the aid of breathing apparatus.  Three bodies were discovered.  However, because of the reversal of the air current while erecting a stopping, the smoke became so dense that the shift boss ordered the men to return to the surface.  One man attempted to remain and finish the stopping but was overcome.  It was several hours before rescuers reached him, but he was dead.  Three of the others attempted to go out to the Cambria shaft but were overcome and were revived with great difficulty.
1913 Taylor Mine Asphyxiations, Hartford, Kentucky — Five men were killed by blackdamp in a deserted shaft of a coal mine belonging to the Taylor Mining Company.  The men were working near the shaft when C. F. Frazier went to explore the abandoned digging.  He fell into the water and the four others who went to his rescue succumbed to blackdamp.  The miners attempting to rescue Frazier included John Killers, J. P. Ramer, F. Tourk, and Jim Porter.
Imperial Mine Explosion, Belle Valley, Ohio — Henry Fairhurst, a member of the first rescue party to enter the Imperial mine following the explosion, was overcome by gas and died soon after being brought to the surface.
1915 Smokeless Valley No. 1 Mine Explosion, Johnstown, Pennsylvania — Apparatus man succumbed during recovery work.  Mr. Gomer Phillips was an employee of the Cambria Steel Company of Johnstown, PA.  Mr. Phillips was a voluntary rescue man in the Johnstown explosion and came to his death while wearing the apparatus in attempting to rescue the men in the explosion.  Mr. Phillips was the captain of the rescue team.
1920 Mullan Tailing Plant Electrocution, Idaho — A miner was electrocuted and instantly killed at a sub-station of the Washington Water Power Plant, when he was endeavoring to rescue a patrol man of the company, whom he found burned and unconscious upon going to the sub-station to investigate the cause of the power being shut off at the plant in which he was working.
Submarine Mine Explosion, Clinton, Indiana — Following an explosion in the Submarine mine at Clinton, Indiana, James Smith, Art Thompson and Frank Hughes were victims of afterdamp while attempting to recover the body of John Howe.  Jimmie Needham, also a member of the rescue party, was injured.
1940 Anthracite "Bootleg" Operation, Eastern Pennsylvania — On May 16, 1940, Andrew Wolfgang, a foreman of the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Co., and captain of a mine rescue team, lost his life while wearing a McCaa 2-hour oxygen breathing apparatus, in an attempt to rescue a miner at the bottom of a 50-foot, almost vertical, shaft at a "bootleg" mining operation.
1949 Gilberton No. 5 Colliery Fire, Girardville, Pennsylvania — Raymond J. Ey, 38, mine laborer, Joseph P. Wowak, and William J. Kelly, Sr., 48, died attempting to save William T. 0’Brien, 52, mine fireboss, from suffocation, Girardville, Pennsylvania, May 4, 1949.  All three men were awarded the Carnegie Hero Award for their bravery.  
1975 Deer Creek Mine Roof Fall, Huntington, Utah — A roof fall occurred in the Deep Creek mine that resulted in the death of two men.  During recovery operations later the same day, another man was killed and two more injured.  In an effort to help their friends, Alfred Willis of Huntington was killed and two other men were injured and hospitalized.
1982 Magma Mine Cave-in, Superior, Arizona — Three miners died between 5:30 and 6 p.m., on May 10, 1982 in three separate incidents that involved a cave-in and fall-of-ground in the Magma Copper Mine in Superior, Arizona.  During a daring rescue and recovery which lasted through May 12th, one of the victims was recovered from the dangerous area, however, he died shortly thereafter from his injuries.  Joseph Granillo was also entrapped in the same manner, and while his rescue was being attempted, both he and his would-be rescuer, Joseph Cassaro, were killed when additional material fell.  For their brave efforts, the Carnegie Hero Award was bestowed upon Frank Aldecoa, Andy J. Arroyos, Jr., Billy Ray Evans, Henry Lopez Rodriguez, George Anthony Gomez, G. Michael Martinez (posthumously), and Joseph Cassaro (posthumously).  Source document ”External  

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 . . .