October Mine Disaster Anniversaries in 2021

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View the planets for this day1902
Mine Explosion
Black Diamond, WA
No. Killed - 11


View the planets for this day1906
Mine Explosion
Pocahontas, VA
No. Killed - 35

View the planets for this day1909
Mine Explosion
Roslyn, WA
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1926
Mine Explosion
Rockwood, TN
No. Killed - 27


View the planets for this day1914
Mine Explosion
Mulga, AL
No. Killed - 17

View the planets for this day1906
Mine Explosion
Blossburg, NM
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1936
Hoisting Accident
Mullan, ID
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1910
Mine Explosion
Starkville, CO
No. Killed - 56


View the planets for this day1937
Mine Explosion
Birmingham, AL
No. Killed - 34

View the planets for this day1951
Mine Explosion
Cassville, WV
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1915
Granite Mt. Shaft
Mine Explosion
Butte, MT
No. Killed - 16

View the planets for this day1911
Mine Inundation
Hibernia, NJ
No. Killed - 12

View the planets for this day1916
Jamison No. 7
Mine Explosion
Barrackville, WV
No. Killed - 11


View the planets for this day1909
Rock Island No. 8
Mine Explosion
Hartshorne, OK
No. Killed - 10


View the planets for this day1913
Stag Canon No. 2
Mine Explosion
Dawson, NM
No. Killed - 263

View the planets for this day1916
Marvel No. 2
Mine Explosion
Marvel, AL
No. Killed - 18


View the planets for this day1901
Diamondville No. 1
Mine Explosion
Diamondville, WY
No. Killed - 22

View the planets for this day1937
Mine Explosion
Jonesville, AK
No. Killed - 14


View the planets for this day1914
North No. 1
Mine Explosion
Royalton, IL
No. Killed - 52

View the planets for this day1930
Wheatley No. 4
Mine Explosion
McAlester, OK
No. Killed - 30

View the planets for this day1958
Bishop No. 34
Mine Explosion
McDowell Cty, WV
No. Killed - 22

View the planets for this day1884
Mine Explosion
Uniontown, PA
No. Killed - 14

View the planets for this day1941
Daniel Boone
Mine Explosion
St. Charles, KY
No. Killed - 15


View the planets for this day1904
Mine Explosion
Tercio, CO
No. Killed - 19

View the planets for this day1958
Mine Explosion
Nicholas Cty, WV
No. Killed - 14


View the planets for this day1919
Amsterdam No. 2
Mine Fire
Amsterdam, OH
No. Killed - 20


View the planets for this day1909
Franklin No. 2
Mine Explosion
Johnstown, PA
No. Killed - 13

View the planets for this day1951
United Gas No. 1
Mine Explosion
United, WV
No. Killed - 12


Successful Mine Rescues Rescuer Deaths All October Mine Disasters

Successful Mine Rescues in October
1870 Van Stork Coal Shaft Fire, Scranton, Pennsylvania — The "Van Stork Coal Shaft," the property of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, near Scranton, was destroyed by fire.  Originating in the boiler house, the fire soon engulfed the main building.  There were fourteen men at work in the mine below the shaft where the fire broke out.  Eight of these escaped safely through the slope at the river, half a mile away.  The six others were cut off and suffered considerably before water got down the shaft.  They were finally rescued after an undisclosed period, however, nearly exhausted. Source document PDF Format
1882 Lehigh Valley No. 3 Colliery Cave-in, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania — After 15 hours of confinement due to a cave-in, four miners were rescued from the Lehigh Valley Coal Company’s No. 3 colliery.  The men rescued were Robert Hanna, Peter James, Henry Schuetze, and Timothy Reynolds.  All were expected to recover.  Source document PDF Format
1885 Plymouth No. 2 Mine Explosion, Plymouth, Pennsylvania — As soon as possible after the explosion, a rescuing party was organized and the injured men were brought out of the mine, all terribly burned but, with one exception, still living.  The first man brought out by the relief party was Thomas Howard.  He was cut in the back and terribly burned about the head and face.  The others were brought up in the following order: Joseph Thomas; David Grimes; John Woods; Frank Spinnett; Edward T. Jones; John Lavinsky; Thomas Collins; Anthony Spinneta; John Zalinsky; Thomas McDermott; Frank Sanfraux; John Kerst; Sandy Lova; and John Cobley.  All these were found lying near the foot of the shaft in the main gangway.  None of them was able to stand up, and one or two were unconscious.
1888 Winthrop Mine Cave-in, Ashpeming, Michigan — Joseph McGrath was rescued from a cave-in at the Winthrop mine near Ashpeming, Michigan following an undisclosed period.  The escape was said to be almost miraculous, as the mass which fell on him weighed many tons.  Luckily the timbers so fell as to allow him enough air to keep him alive.  Source document PDF Format
1895 Dorrance Mine Explosion, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania — Five men, all badly burned, were brought to the surface at 8:00 p.m. following an explosion which occurred sometime in the late afternoon in the Dorrance mine.  Among the men rescued were: Robert Blanchard, William Miller, George Lafly, Joseph Murphy, and Michael Moss who later died.  When Blanchard was found he was being slowly roasted to death.  His partner, Miller, whose arms were broken, could render him no assistance.  These two men were not expected to live.
1897 October 30, 1897 - Joseph Yomaski, one of the men entombed in the Von Storch Mine of the Delaware and Hudson Company, was rescued at 10 o'clock Saturday night.  The bodies of the other men were afterwards found and brought to the surface.  In an interview, the Pole explained that when his companions began to suffer their death agonies, he at once urged them to follow him, but they refused.  He escaped to an old airway where he knew of a hand fan, over which he placed a box, and in that inserted his head.  He then kept the fan going for ten hours and kept himself alive until rescued.  See more.
Tallula Mine Explosion and Fire, Tallula, Illinois — Following the breakout of fire after an explosion in the Tallula coal mine, all the miners except for George Carr hastily left the mine.  Carr was thought by some to be dead until there was a lull in the flames.  That was when sheets soaked in water were lowered into the mine in which Carr wrapped himself. He was pulled to the surface badly burned, but saved from a horrible death.  Source document PDF Format
1898 Midvale Mine Fire, Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania — The last bodies were recovered from the Midvale mine and soon after the fire was extinguished.  The bravery of Tommy Hantz, a 15-year-old boy employed as a nipper, resulted in saving 20 lives.  While making his way through the smoke to a place of safety, he remembered that 20 men were in a distant working, where they would probably be quite surrounded by smoke before they realized their danger.  Turning back, he managed, with great effort, to reach and warn them.  He was Just In time.  Young Hantz, on the way, unhitched a pair of mules, and while trying to drive the frightened animals out was overcome.  Fortunately, a miner chanced to stumble over his prostrate form and carried him out.  Source document PDF Format
1899 Shenandoah City Colliery Explosion, Pottsville, Pennsylvania — All the men trapped in the Shenandoah City colliery were rescued.  Several were injured but none was seriously hurt.  Twenty-two men were entombed by an explosion and it was only with the greatest difficulty that the imperiled men were safely rescued.  Source document PDF Format
1901 Buttonwood Colliery Explosion, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania — Directly after the explosion occurred a number of brave rescuers, at the risk of their lives, entered the mine and brought out the bodies of the dead and nine injured miners.  The injured men were taken to the hospital as fast as they were brought to the surface.  With the exception of Inspector Daniel Davis, it was thought that all would recover.
Highland Boy Mine Cave-in, Bingham, Utah — Charles Nutting was rescued after being trapped for 61 hours by a cave-in at the Highland Boy Mine at Bingham, Utah.  Very weak when found, Nutting was confined in a space so small, he was unable to stand up.  Another miner, William Anderson, was also missing in the incident and there was little hope of finding him alive.  Source document PDF Format
1902 French Brothers’ Mine Fall of Persons, Newton, Iowa — Five men fell thirty feet down a coal shaft at Newton, Iowa and some of them cannot recover.  The men were being elevated to the surface of the French Brothers’ mine at the close of work.  The cable broke just as they reached the top, and they dropped to the bottom of the shaft with lightning rapidity.  The men were found piled in a heap at the bottom, all unconscious. But one, Andrew Fleming, has regained consciousness.  Hugo Smith cannot recover, and the fate of the others; John Snook, Eugene Welsh and John Walsh, is uncertain.  Each of the men had a family.  Source document PDF Format
1904 Abandoned Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania — Frank Borjerko, an old miner, was digging coal for his family’s winter supply in an abandoned drift at the Furnace colliery when the roof caved in, completely covering him.  Fellow coal pickers, at the risk of their own lives, set to work and soon uncovered the victim's head, so that he could breathe.  For twelve hours they feverishly worked to free him, despite another threatened fall, and finally got him out alive.  He was seriously injured about the body and limbs.  Source document PDF Format
Sioux Colliery Cave-in, Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania — Caught by a fall of coal at the Sioux Colliery, Michael Kennedy lay buried with his face exposed for fifteen hours.  No one witnessed the accident, and when he did not return home in the evening searching parties entered his place of work and found him nearly dead from exhaustion, but he was expected to live.  Source document PDF Format
1905 Tunnel Ridge Mine Cave-in, Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania — Charles Rineawage was rescued — 8 hours — following a cave-in at the Tunnel Ridge Mine at Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania.  His work companion, Joseph Skernolis, died in the accident.  Source document PDF Format
1906 Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Stockdale, Pennsylvania — Arthur Smith and Albert W. Simpson helped to rescue George Spencer from a mine cave-in, Stockdale, Pennsylvania, October 9, 1906.  Spencer, 54, was caught by a fall of slate.  There was room for only one person to work at his release.  Smith, 28, driver, was first to go, and, while he was digging away the debris, another fall occurred but missed them by a narrow margin.  Fatigue compelled Smith to stop, and Simpson took up the work and after 15 minutes’ labor, Spencer was extricated.  Another fall seemed to be impending and did occur an hour later.  Arthur Smith and Albert Simpson were bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award.  Source document External Link  
1908 Wilson Creek Mine Lost Person, Scranton, Pennsylvania — Patrick Hart, 70, was rescued in the Wilson Creek mine after he stood in water up to his waist for twenty-four hours.  Knowing that his one chance of being found lay in standing in a channel which his rescuers would follow.  His fellow workmen originally missed him, and when a systematic search finally led them to the spot where the old man stood.  He was on the verge of collapse.  Source document PDF Format
1910 Ernest No. 2 Mine Explosion, Ernest, Pennsylvania — Andy Kragear was overcome by the gas arising from the explosion.  A rescue party using an oxygen helmet rescued and brought him to the surface about 8 hours after the explosion.  Shortly afterward he gained consciousness and was able to tell where he boarded.  He was the only man in the mine in the vicinity of the explosion that escaped.
1911 O’Gara Mine No. 8 Explosives Detonation, Harrisburg, Illinois — Eight miners were killed, and eight others temporarily overcome by an explosion of powder in the O’Gara mine No. 8.  The dead and those made unconscious were removed from the mine by rescuers, three of whom were overcome by gas.  They were resuscitated at a hospital.  The explosion occurred as the shifts were changing and, but sixteen men were in the north entry, where the explosion occurred.  Three hundred and sixty men had reported for work, but all bad not gone into the workings.  It was not definitely known what caused the explosion, but that it was possible that the insulation on an electric cable had become loosened and that the exposed wire touched some spilled powder.  Source document PDF Format
1913 Seven Mexican miners, trapped for 6 days in the Vogel and Lawrence Lignite mine at Rockdale, Texas were found unconscious, and barely alive.  The men were imprisoned by a cave-in following a cloud burst which flooded the mine.  Lying near the men was their mule, still alive.  Source document External Link
Trapped in an abandoned chamber of the Continental Mine operated by the Lehigh Valley Coal Company in Centralia, Pennsylvania, Thomas Toshesky was finally freed by rescuers after 8 days.  He was in good condition and spirits, refusing a stretcher and making it out of the mine under his own power.  Source document External Link
Stag Canon No. 2 Mine Explosion — Nine miners, found unconscious near the bottom of the airshaft, were rescued by an apparatus crew after about 5 hours.  They were revived by the use of pulmotors.  At 6:15 p.m., the first miner to be rescued alive within 12 hours was taken from the main entry.  He was found unconscious, two miles within the mine.  Source document External Link
Shenandoah Colliery Cave-in, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania — John Kender, a well-known miner, had a narrow escape from death at the Shenandoah colliery, where a heavy fall of coal and rock took place, making him a prisoner.  Rescuers, after six hours of hazardous work, finally took Kender from his living prison, painfully but not seriously injured.  Source document PDF Format
Vogel & Lawrence Lignite Mine Cave-in, Rockdale, Texas — Seven Mexican miners entombed for — 5 days — in the Vogel & Lawrence lignite mine near Rockdale were rescued.  Two other men found in another part of the mine were dead.  A mule also was rescued alive.  The miners were entombed when heavy rains caused a creek to cave in on the mine.  The seven taken from the mine were unconscious and barely alive.  If rescue had been delayed several more hours, they likely would have died.  They were ninety feet underground and continual digging, day and night, was necessary in order to reach the spot.  The men were so weak they had to be carried from the mine.  Source document PDF Format
1914 Explosion in Mulga Mine, Mulga, Alabama - Sixteen men were killed and 12 were rescued by parties led by company officials.  Source document External Link
Explosion at Patterson No. 2 Mine, Elizabeth, Pennsylvania - Following the explosion, the superintendent and the pump man were overcome by afterdamp.  A rescue party in the charge of the mine foreman carried the unconscious men to fresh air.  The superintendent soon recovered, but the pump man could not be revived.  Breathing apparatus was not used.  Source document External Link
Royalton North No. 1 Mine Explosion — An accumulation of gas was ignited by open light.  Doors to an old room were left open and gas accumulated.  One man was rescued from the affected area 10 hours after the explosion had occurred.
American Zinc, Lead and Smelting Mine Cave-in, Webb City, Missouri — As by a miracle, there was no loss of life when fifty zinc miners were caught in the drifts of the American Zinc, Lead and Smelting Co., when the roofs of mines Nos. 1, 2, and 3 caved in.  Thirty acres of ground caved to the working levels 250 feet below.  All the men were rescued after an undisclosed period.  Fifteen miners climbed to the surface after finding their way through darkened drifts by liberating a blind track mule and following him as he made his way over a path he had trod unseeingly for years to the shaft.  All of these men were injured, none of them dangerously.  Source document PDF Format
1915 Continental Colliery Cave-in, Centralia, PA – On October 4, John Tomaschefski was rescued after 187 hours, imprisoned by a cave-in at the colliery which occurred on September 26.  A 2-inch diamond drill hole was drilled 50 feet to provide food, water and dry clothing.  It took 85 hours to drill this hole.  Following this, the rescuers drove, by pick mining, a 4-foot by 4-foot passageway to reach and rescue the trapped miner.  It required 4 days to accomplish this.  Source document External Link
Foster Tunnel of No. 11 Mine Inundation, Coaldale, Pennsylvania — Six men and three boys were rescued after nearly seven days following the group’s entrapment in the Foster Tunnel of the No. 11 mine when a blast released water from an abandoned working.  Eleven were initially confined, but two of them, William Watkins and George Hollywood, escaped a day after the accident happened.  The other nine miners trapped sustained themselves on the remaining food in their dinner pails, lamp oil, and chicken bones.  The Coaldale mining operation was the property of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company.  The nine trapped miners included:
  • John McAndrews (boy)
  • Joseph Murphy (boy)
  • John Boner (boy)
  • Elmer Herron
  • Peter Lemmock
  • Charles Matokis
  • Dominic Holchek
  • Joe Lagonis
  • Dominic Dodori
Source document 1 PDF Format  Source document 2 PDF Format  Source document 3 PDF Format
Ramago No. 4 Mine Powered Haulage Accident, Webb City, Missouri — Four miners were dropped almost the whole distance down a 200-foot shaft at the Ramago No. 4 mine.  The first "tub" had just started down with the underground men, carrying four, the usual number, when something went wrong with the hoister.  The presumption was that the hoist operator was lowering these men on the brake instead of having his air on in order to get them underground quickly and the four men were dropped to the bottom of the shaft.  All four men were more or less severely injured and were rushed to the Jane Chinn hospital.  All the men were expected to recover.  Source document PDF Format
1916 No. 14 Colliery Cave-in, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania — John Kellet, 32, was rescued uninjured after having been entombed for 24 hours behind a fall of coal at the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company’s No. 14 colliery.  Source document PDF Format
Lytle Colliery Explosion and Fire, Pottsville, Pennsylvania — The sixteenth miner closed in by an explosion of gas at the Lytle colliery was rescued after an undisclosed period, the other fifteen having been taken out safely earlier, all will recover.  The fire, which was started by an explosion, is well under control and the officials say it will be speedily extinguished.  Source document PDF Format
1917 Independent Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania — Thomas Kilroy, 50, was rescued after being trapped for twenty-four hours in an unnamed Anthracite mine.  He was held as a prisoner in the depths of the mine 1,000 feet below the surface by a fall of rock and coal.  As the rescue men progressed with their work, the fall of the top continued, endangering their own lives.  Suffering severely from exposure, shock and hunger, Kilroy’s condition was critical, however, it was believed that he would recover.  Source document PDF Format
1920 Plymouth Red Ash Mine Cave-in, Plymouth, Pennsylvania — Two miners employed by the Plymouth Red Ash Coal Company, owed their lives to the clear-headed calculation of a mine foreman and the faithful and heroic work of fellow-miners who rescued the miners from an entombment of more than twelve hours.  William Young, 35, and Joseph Hillard, 48, were erecting timber in a gangway when a sudden and unexpected crash brought tons of coal and rock down within fifteen feet of them.  The cave-in blocked the slope and imprisoned Hillard and Young.  When word reached the surface, the mine foreman, John D. Maxwell, directed that a hole be bored from the top of the tomb and, by a mathematical deduction, he was able to reach exactly the spot where the miners were imprisoned.  With picks, axes and other tools, nearly two score of miners set to burrowing a passageway for their helpless fellow-workers.  The digging and cutting of the mountain of coal which separated the pair from freedom started at 1 o'clock p.m. and ended with the rescue of the men at about 1:45 a.m. the next morning.  The two miners walked home, unhurt.  Source document PDF Format
1921 Sioux No. 3 Colliery Cave-in, Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania — After being entombed for 5 hours, five miners were rescued at the Sioux No. 3 Colliery.  They were working in the west seven-foot gangway when it caved in for a distance of 150 feet.  The men suffered only from shock.  Source document PDF Format
1922 After becoming lost in an abandoned coal mine for two days and a night at Pomeroy, Ohio, Jack Gobel was found by a searching party.  Gobel became lost after a dynamite explosion jarred him enough to put out the light on his miner’s cap.  The search party was formed after his wife notified mine officials.  Source document PDF Format
1923 Glendower Colliery Inundation, Pottsville, Pennsylvania — Two mules were trapped in the Buck Mountain Slope, South Dip, at the Glendower Colliery, but were rescued by the daring efforts of one of the employees who struggled for two hours in water up to his waist before he could bring the animals out to safety.  A huge volume of water had broken through and the old workings in various parts of the mines were flooded up to the timber.  Source document PDF Format
Decatur Mine Fall of Persons, Decatur, Illinois — Two men were dying and two others were suffering from serious injuries as the result of a fall of 100 feet in the shaft of the Decatur Coal Company mine.  The men were being lowered to the 600-foot level in a huge cage.  At the 500-foot level the cable broke, precipitating the cage and men.  One of the men suffered a broken back, another, injuries to the head and body, while the other two sustained broken legs and possible internal injuries.  It was not until seven hours after the accident that the cable was repaired and the injured were taken to the surface.  Source document PDF Format
Utah-Apex Mine Cave-in, Bingham, Utah — Joseph Norden, superintendent, and Joseph Ratalaza were rescued unhurt from the Utah-Apex metal mine after being entombed for 56 hours.  The bodies of two others were located in the rock pile near the place where Norden and Ratalaza were freed, but because of the immense pile of stone and timbers it was impossible to identify them.  One man was still unaccounted for.  Source document PDF Format
1924 Hart Coal Corp. Mine Explosion, Madisonville, Kentucky — Six miners who were imprisoned by an explosion in the Hart Coal corporation mine near Madisonville, Kentucky were rescued after an undisclosed period.  Witnesses declared the force of the blast threw a pillar of flame 100 feet into the air from the mouth of the shaft.  The tipple was partly wrecked and the cage jammed in the shaft.  This caused an accumulation of debris in the shaft and hampered efforts of rescuers to reach the men imprisoned underground.  The explosion prostrated high tension electric lines which crossed the mouth of the shaft, adding to the difficulty of rescue workers and throwing this place in darkness for an hour.  Source document PDF Format
1927 Mammoth Mine Fire, Mammoth, Utah — Twenty-five miners who were trapped for 4 hours on the 1300 foot level of the Mammoth Mine were rescued.  None of the miners suffered serious effects from their imprisonment.  Source document PDF Format
Peck Mine Powered Haulage Accident, Scranton, Pennsylvania — Between forty and fifty miners, trapped in the Peck Mine of the Glendale Coal Company were rescued after an undisclosed period.  All were in good condition and apparently suffered but slightly from their imprisonment.  The men were shut off from the outside world when a wheel in the tower of the colliery collapsed, dropping the heavy steel cable bolding a mine cage filled with rock.  The cage ran wild down the shaft and became wedged just above the Hudak vein, which was the upper level of the mine and 200 feet below the surface.  More than 200 workers in two lower veins got out through an opening so small, that some of the stouter miners had their clothing torn off as they were pulled through the tiny holes in the earth.  The men in the Hudak vein, however, had no other way out except through the main shaft and were forced to wait until the obstruction could be cleared.  Source document PDF Format
1928 McAlpin Mine Explosion, McAlpin, West Virginia — A coal dust explosion occurred, killing six men.  There were twenty men in the mine at the time of the explosion.  Sixteen men escaped the affected area; two of this number started to erect a barricade but were rescued shortly after starting construction.  The explosion was undoubtedly started by a firing of an "adobe" shot on a piece of sandstone.
1930 West End Mine Cave-in, Mocanaqua, Pennsylvania — August Carucci, 30, was resting at home after being trapped in a cave-in for 14 hours in the mine of the West End Coal Company at Mocanaqua, Pennsylvania.  Source document PDF Format
1931 Two miners who never gave up hope after 4 comrades were killed in an explosion in the Mocanaqua Mine of the West End Coal Company were rescued after 133 hours of entrapment.  The survivors were John Thomashunis, age 40, and John Metz, age 22.
1932 Unnamed Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Pittston, Pennsylvania — Trapped by a cave-in 1,000 feet underground in Pittston, Pennsylvania, Park Tucker, 21, was rescued after an undisclosed period.  His resulting injuries included a severed arm and his legs broken in 13 places.  His two work companions were killed in the disaster.  While trapped Mr. Tucker prayed.  "Deliver my body and soul, Lord." he said he prayed," and I’ll promise to preach the Gospel the rest of my life."  Mr. Tucker stated that he spent 13 months in a hospital and resumed his schooling in the seventh grade at the age of 23.  He later attended Wheaton Academy in Illinois and Houghton College in New York in preparation for ministerial studies.  Mr. Tucker graduated from the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and on October 1, 1943, he was ordained before a congregation that packed the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Chillicothe, Ohio, fulfilling the vow he made years before.  Source document PDF Format
1933 Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania — Michael Lukash, 45, was rescued after being trapped for 17 hours in a makeshift mine near Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania.  The walls collapsed as he was carrying out one of the few remaining sacks of coal.  Source document PDF Format
1934 Bootleg Mine Cave-in, New Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — John Coyle, age 63, was rescued after 20 hours from a bootleg mine hole near New Philadelphia.  Coyle owed his life-saving rescue to a group of volunteers that drove a 90-foot parallel shaft to reach the trapped miner.  Physicians at the Pottsville Hospital reported that Coyle was suffering from severe shock and exposure.  Source document PDF Format
West End Mine Cave-in, Mocanaqua, Pennsylvania — Silver Miczalowski, 28, was rescued after being trapped in a slide of coal for an hour and 20 minutes at the West End Coal Company in Mocanaqua, Pennsylvania.  He was completely covered, but loose debris around his head allowed him to breathe until rescued.  Source document PDF Format
1935 Independent Mine Cave-in, Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania — Peter Baxter, 38, was released from his underground prison 22 hours after he and another miner were caught in a coal slide producing a cave-in.  The incident occurred at the Independent mine owned by the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company.  The doctor at the Ashland Hospital reported Baxter’s condition as good, saying he only appeared to be suffering from shock and exposure.  The other miner, John Stankowski, was believed to be dead.  Source document PDF Format
Unnamed Coal Mine Cave-in, Steubenville, Ohio — John Henry Wiggins helped to rescue Richard S. Riser from a mine cave-in, Steubenville, Ohio, October 14, 1935.  While Riser, 51, was working in an entry five feet high in a mine, a rock 30 feet long, 10 feet wide, and two to three feet thick fell from the top, knocking him down close to a rail of a track and pinning his right arm and left foot.  His left knee was pressed against his chest, causing him to breathe with great difficulty.  Wiggins, 48, mine loader, ran to the rock and at a point 12 feet from Riser lay prone and crawled under it toward Riser through an opening 14 inches high.  The rock rested mainly on refuse coal, and as Wiggins crawled, he pushed rock fragments from in front of him and stacked them to aid in preventing the rock from sinking lower and crushing him.  Reaching Riser, he tugged at his left foot and forced off Riser's shoe but was unable to free his foot.  Riser urged him to break his leg, if necessary.  Wiggins crawled back to the opening, got a jack handle, again crawled to Riser, and tried to raise the rock by means of the handle but failed.  He then took hold of Riser's ankle with both hands and pulled his foot free, crawled backward for four feet, and pulled Riser's leg to a straight position.  He removed rock fragments from around Riser's right leg and then tried to pull Riser's arm from its wedged position.  Failing to do so, he crawled back to the opening and clear of the rock.  He had been under the rock for 20 minutes Later the rock was raised by means of jacks, and Riser was dragged from beneath it.  His arm was paralyzed.  Two other men who were caught under the fall were killed.  John Wiggins was bestowed the Carnegie Hero Award for his bravery.  Source document External Link  
1936 Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Williamstown, Pennsylvania — Peter Rono, 41, was seriously injured and his two companions escaped injury when a rush of coal caught them in a bootleg coal hole north of Williamstown.  Rono was caught under the rush and had a vertebra in his back broken, several ribs fractured and a possible fracture of the left foot.  He was rescued after an undisclosed period by his two companions, Archie Shuttlesworth and Paul Garber, who dodged the fall, and was taken to the hospital after receiving first aid treatment from Dr. William Connelly.  He was conscious when admitted to the hospital and his condition regarded as fair.  Source document PDF Format
Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Green Ridge, Pennsylvania — Joseph Lashendock, 28, and his brother, Andrew, 23, of Marion Heights, were rescued after being covered by a rush of coal for nearly 2 hours.  Joseph had a probable fracture of the leg and minor bruises, while Andrew escaped with a few scratches.  Rescuers went down immediately, and several times had the men almost free, only to see them covered again as the soft coal continued to rush in from the soft, two-foot coal vein from above.  A discharge of dynamite, fired at quitting time last night, is believed to have loosened the coal above, but the top did not break through until today.  Following the heroic rescue, Joe was taken to the office of a local physician, while Andrew, suffering only from slight shock, was taken to his home.  Source document PDF Format
1938 Falling slate blocked the exit from a room where Dolar Johnson, 54, was preparing to blast in the Lilly Meade Mine in Owensboro, Kentucky.  When his lamp became extinguished, he realized he was lost and he decided to sit and wait for rescue.  He was safely brought to the surface 4 days later.  Source document External Link
1940 Bootleg Anthracite Mine Cave-in, Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania — Two hard-coal miners, rescued after being trapped 65 hours in a mountain coal hole, related from hospital beds how they calmly wound their watches and waited minute by minute for death they thought was certain.  The plight of William Goodman, 60, and William Burke, 28, finally became so desperate that a priest administered last rites through a one-inch pipe rescue workers had driven down to the imprisoned men, 90 feet below the earth’s surface.  What amounted to a miracle for the miners came when the rescue squad tunneled through to a cramped gallery where they had been trapped by a fall of debris that choked the mine entrance.  "I'm all right," was all Burke could say as he stumbled to a waiting ambulance.  Goodman was carried out on a stretcher.  Both were near collapse from cold, hunger and foul air.  Source document PDF Format
Golden Key Mine Asphyxiations, Mariposa, California — Four miners overcome by gas fumes were rescued from the Golden Key mine in the Whitlock mining district when a fifth member of the group managed to get to the surface to summon help.  A rescue crew of 20 men entered the workings and brought the four men to the surface after an undisclosed period.  The men overcome were Lyon C. Gray, president of the Western Mining Association; Joe Gray, manager of the Golden Key Mine; Paul Mills, Elwyn Lund and Pedro Cosmond.  Mills managed to get to the surface and get help.  Source document PDF Format
Fall of Ground Incident and Rescue, Scranton, Pennsylvania — Eleven-year-old Joseph Steindel rested comfortably at his home, seemingly none the worse from his brief entombment when the walls of an eighteen-foot crater near Cornell Park collapsed while he was digging coal.  The little victim was jerked from the brink of eternity by four South Scranton men who extricated the victim with their bare hands.  When Edward Nowrocki arrived after being attracted by the boy’s screams, he saw only a blackened hand extending above the rock and debris.  Nowrocki and the others joined in the rescue and digging with their hands, the skin of their fingers torn with each thrust, they piled rock, coal, and dirt to one side and in less than a minute little Joseph’s head was unearthed.  The youngster was unconscious but started to breathe freely by the time the rescuers had loosed his wedged body from the landslide.  The lad was rushed to State Hospital in a police radio car, where he was found to have incurred only minor body bruises and shock.  Source document PDF Format
1941 Daniel Boone Mine Explosion, Daniel Boone, Kentucky — 34 rescued miners were brought to the surface by way of an air shaft within two hours after the explosion.  Four other survivors were able to leave through the main entrance before it was filled by gas.
1943 Collinsville Mine Lost Person, Collinsville, Illinois — Lost for more than 27 hours 200 feet underground in the tunnels of a Bunker Hill Coal Company mine, John Millett, 62, was rescued, but not before he apparently gave up hope.  With chalk on a piece of slate he had scribbled the words, "You're five minutes too late."  Millett, a veteran mine examiner, was found unconscious several hundred feet from the central shaft by two Collinsville miners.  Millett said he wrote the message in despair after one searching crew passed without seeing him where he lay helpless.  He was transported to the hospital where he was treated for shock and exposure.  Source document PDF Format
Bootleg Anthracite Mine Lost Persons, Kulpmont, Pennsylvania — Two men imprisoned by darkness deep in a bootleg coal hole were rescued near Kulpmont, 12 hours after their lanterns went out and they were helpless to move in fear that they might plunge to their death.  The miners, Adam Psanko, 34, and Charles McNevich, 33, were under treatment at Shamokin State Hospital for exposure.  While enroute to the location of their work one of them dropped his lamp and it rolled into a yawning pit.  With only one lamp remaining, they decided to return to the surface.  Suddenly a gust of air blew the flame of it out and left them in pitch darkness.  It was midnight before members of their families became alarmed because they did not return home, and a searching party was formed.  When found, the pair hadn’t moved a foot from the spot where the lantern went out.  Physicians at the hospital said both men were in satisfactory condition and would be discharged after a thorough check.  Source document PDF Format
1946 Abandoned Pennsylvania Coal Co. Mine Rescue, Pittston, Pennsylvania — A Pittston coal miner was rescued from an abandoned mine shaft after being entombed for several hours.  Benjamin Desko, 58, was locked in the shaft when the exit was filled in by a bulldozer operator, who was unaware that he was in the shaft.  Desko was reported missing by his wife when he failed to return home.  She went to the shaft where her husband said he would be working and discovered the entrance blocked.  The alarm was sounded and workers of the Pennsylvania Coal Company made the rescue.  When examined at the Pittston Hospital, Desko was found to be none the worst for his experience.  Source document PDF Format
1948 Dresser Mine Explosion, Terre Haute, Indiana — Thirty-five coal miners were trapped by an explosion in the Dresser coal mine last night, but all were rescued.  Mine officials said two men with second degree burns were taken to the Union hospital at Terre Haute. None of the other men were injured.  The explosion occurred at 6:10 p.m., and mine officials said all of the men were out at 7 p.m.  Source document PDF Format
Golden Rod Mine No. 9 Cave-in, Picher, Oklahoma — Burford Storm, 28, was trapped for six hours in a cave-in at the Golden Rod Mine No. 9.  He and his helper, John Carmack, were loading boulders at a level 235 feet below the surface when dirt, ore rock and boulders gave way beneath then.  The debris slid down about 30 feet to the bottom of the mine, carrying Storm with it.  He was pinned between levels, but was not covered by the debris.  Carmack gained a higher level as the cave-in started and was helped out of the mine immediately.  Some 25 miners worked to free Storm, finally succeeding six hours after the cave-in.  Neither was seriously hurt.  Source document PDF Format
1949 Abandoned Well Rescue, Austin, Texas — A 3-year-old boy fell 14 feet down a narrow shaft of an abandoned well and was rescued alive three hours later.  Bobby Gow, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Gow of Austin, toppled into the 10-inch shaft while playing.  A 12-year-old playmate saw him fall and spread the alarm.  His rescue came after three steam shovels, compressed air hammers and volunteer pick and shovel workers tore away the earth from the 20-foot hole.  Except for the happier ending.  The incident was reminiscent of the tragedy of Kathy Fiscus, age 3, who died last April after a 98-foot fall down an abandoned well pipe at San Marino, California.  Source document PDF Format
1954 Nearly freed from fallen timber and rock in an Anthracite mine in Branchdale, Pennsylvania, Carl Herman became trapped again when a second cave-in occurred.  35 friends worked for an undisclosed period to free Herman who managed to get out with only a broken leg.  Source document External Link
1955 Abandoned Clay Mine Rescue, East Liverpool, Ohio — Three young men were rescued after being lost in an abandoned clay mine for 15 hours.  A searching party of about 50 persons was formed after the trio failed to return home.  They were found unharmed 5 hours after the search began.  Those rescued included: Ed Unger, 16; Lemoyne Simms, 19; and James Simms, 23.  Source document PDF Format
1958 Bishop No. 34 Mine Explosion — An explosion occurred in this mine and resulted in the death of 22 miners.  Thirty-seven others erected barricades and remained behind them until they were rescued.
Burton Mine Explosion, Craigsville, West Virginia — Four men who miraculously escaped death after being trapped underground were hospitalized.  The first of four men rescued reached the surface on his own feet, leaning on the shoulders of his rescuers, some four hours after the blast.  He was Artie Humphreys of Craigsville.  Three others, two of them horribly burned, were brought out on stretchers.
1964 Grays Creek No. 11 Mine Fire, Whitwell, Tennessee — Six miners were rescued after an undisclosed period after being trapped by a fire burning in the Grays Creek No. 11 mine operated by the Grundy Mining Company.  According to the news report, the miners were brought out "safe and sound."  Source document PDF Format
1965 Wildcat Cave Entrapment, Hinckley, Ohio – A fifteen-year-old boy was rescued after being trapped for 24 hours.  He was wedged in a crevice 10 inches wide and three feet high and was found tilted downward at a 45° angle.  Consultation and assistance was provided by employees of the Ohio Division of Mines.  Source document External Link
Mars No. 2 Mine Fire, Wilsonburg, West Virginia — Workers inched their way deep inside the fire-ravaged Mars No. 2 mine tunnels for nearly 20 hours before coming upon Charles Lantz, 26, of Buckhannon.  He was brought out alive but died of his injuries en route to a hospital.
1966 Glen Falls Mine Cave-in, Harrison County, West Virginia — A coal miner, trapped by tons of slate and coal for — 30 hours —, told newsmen from his hospital bed Wednesday that he simply "beat the obituaries."  Edward Longwell, 52, a big man with calloused hands, was not injured in a huge roof fall at the Glen Falls Mine of the McCandlish Coal Company just north of Clarksburg.  The first collapse and another which followed 10 minutes later sealed him a mile inside at about 1 p.m. Monday.  Rescuers reached him at 6 p.m. Tuesday.  "I hope nobody else ever has to go through that," said Longwell, a resident of Rosemont.  "I want to thank everyone who helped me."  In all his 36 years of coal mining Longwell said he had had no real scrapes with death.  His experience with mining apparently helped him not to panic and he said he waited calmly for rescuers.  Longwell, a mining machine operator, was "pulling pillars" when he was trapped.  Usually, when the last pillar is pulled, there's a "crackling noise" when the roof falls.  But he said, "It made no noise, it just came down."  The miner said he ducked under the machine just in time as the slate and earth crashed down around him.  He said he had about six inches of clearance around his legs and hips and a little more at his head.  To breathe, he said, he put his face close to a crevasse on the floor through which air was circulating.  Longwell was expected to be released from the hospital after a short time.  John M. Ashcraft, 47, state mine inspector; Baxter W. Ellison, 47, mine general superintendent; and Gayle Alvin Davis, 27, miner, were each awarded the Carnegie Hero Medal for their bravery in the rescue of Mr. Longwell.  Source document 1 PDF Format  Source document 2 External Link  
1972 Skelton Mine Rib Fall, Stanaford, West Virginia — Eugene Fugate, loader operator, and Ed Bryant, loading-machine helper, traveled to the No. 6 entry and began normal loading operations in the crosscut.  After the coal was loaded Fugate trammed his loading machine into the left side face of the No. 6 entry.  About 11:20 a.m., Fugate, moved the loading machine into the right side of the face of No. 6 entry.  The coal rib rolled over and caught Fugate against the loading machine.  Bryant rushed to Fugate, along with Frank Sauchuck, shuttle-car operator.  They disconnected the loading machine and freed Fugate from the fallen debris and rushed him to an awaiting ambulance.  He was pronounced dead at Raleigh General Hospital.  Source document PDF Format
1973 Brush Creek Mine Mudslide, Downieville, California — Two veteran gold miners were rescued in good condition early today after being trapped in a century-old shaft for — 33½ hours — when a violent Sierra storm triggered a giant mudslide.  Air compressors had been used to pump oxygen into the Brush Creek Mine four miles west of this historic gold mining town in an isolated corner of the Sierra.  Both men were cold, hungry, and filthy but in "tip-top" shape, according to Sierra County Sheriff Sam Doyle, who headed a rescue team of 20 deputies, miners and friends of the pair.  The miners were working the mine 2,000 feet into the shaft when the slide hit.  But their fate was not discovered until a caretaker noticed the miners’ cars in front of the shaft and the entrance sealed with mud.  Source document PDF Format
Abandoned Old Forge Colliery Fall of Person, Old Forge, Pennsylvania — A 10-year-old Old Forge boy narrowly escaped death when he fell 40 feet down an abandoned mine shaft at the Old Forge Colliery.  Old Forge police said Michael Scarnato’s fall was broken at the 40-foot level by some old roofing material jammed in the open shaft.  He could have fallen a lot further down the shaft they said.  As it was, the youth suffered cuts and bruises and had to be taken to Community Medical Center after his rescue.  Police said Michael and several of his friends were playing near the shaft when he got too close and fell in.  Despite his 40-foot fall, Scarnato remained conscious during the entire time he spent in the shaft.  The Moosic Hose Company provided personnel and equipment and supervised the rescue operation.  Source document PDF Format
1977 Segco No. 1 Mine Cave-in, Parrish, Alabama — Kenneth W. Ely rescued Ollis A. Bryant from a cave-in, Parrish, Alabama, October 11, 1977.  When a cave-in occurred in a coal mine, Bryant, 46, was pinned beneath a huge slab of shale and sandstone that was propped up slightly at one side by reason of its resting on a low machine.  Ely, 29, federal coal mine inspector, wriggled under the slab and, by moving debris and digging into the clay floor, created a crawl space to the machine, alongside which Bryant was trapped.  After freeing Bryant from the debris around him, Ely drew him into the crawl space.  Workers pulled Ely by the feet as he in turn pulled on Bryant.  In that manner both men were drawn from beneath the slab.  Source document External Link
1980 Two men, David Aubuchon and Guy Hayton, and the car they were driving were rescued after spending 4 days at the bottom of a vertical shaft of the University of Arizona experimental mine near Tucson.  They had crashed their car through a barbed-wire fence protecting the shaft entrance.  Following their rescue, the men were questioned by Pima County Sherriff’s detectives about the burglary of $700 worth of tools from the mine.  Apparently no charges were filed.  Source document External Link
1985 Abandoned Maxfield Mine Rescue, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah — Two brothers missing for 2½ days were found in an abandoned mine where they had been lost in darkness since their flashlight went out.  Dennis Workman, 26, and his brother Scott Workman, 25, were found by teams led by a Sheriff’s deputy.  The use of dogs helped pinpoint them.  Source document PDF Format
1987 Rescuers worked for 58 hours to free "Baby Jessica" McClure from an eight-inch (20 cm) well casing 22 feet (6.7 m) below the ground.  The story gained worldwide attention (leading to some criticism as a media circus), and later became the subject of a 1989 television movie Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure on ABC.  As presented in the movie, a vital part of the rescue was the use of the then relatively new technology of waterjet cutting.  See more External Link
Five miners trapped for more than a day were hauled 800 feet to safety in a bucket about the size of a garbage can.  They became trapped when a cable suspending a 3-ton piece of machinery snapped, sending the equipment and debris plunging into the Diamond gold and silver mine at Leadville, Colorado.  The mine was owned by the Leadville Corporation.  Source document External Link
2018 Abandoned Gold Mine Rescue, Phoenix, Arizona — An Arizona prospector realized he was lucky to be alive after surviving nearly three days at the bottom of an old abandoned gold mine shaft in the Arizona desert and staring down rattlesnakes.  John Waddell, 60, broke his left leg and ankle when the rigging he used to lower himself into the 100-foot shaft about 90 miles northwest of Phoenix broke.  He free-fell to the rocky bottom and saw that his left leg "was flopped up and my ankle was going the other way," according to Waddell.  He had a cellphone but no service.  A flashlight that didn’t provide light for very long.  And no food or water.  Waddell said he killed three diamondback rattlesnakes with a stick before they could strike — including two the first day — and then hung on before he was finally rescued when a friend drove to the mine and heard his cries for help.  It took about three hours for rescue crews to lift Waddell to safety and then to a hospital for treatment.  Source document PDF Format
2020 Abandoned Colorado No. 2 Mine Rescue, Eureka, Utah — One eighteen-year-old is thanking his rescuers after he was trapped in a mine for at least four hours.  Izick Garcia and his friend Moroni Oliveira were exploring caves and mines down in Eureka, when Garcia realized he had gone too far.  The two friends had explored a few other mine shafts and caves before reaching a ventilation shaft for the Colorado No. 2 mine.  "We went in, and I guess you could say there was a drop," said Garcia.  About a 25 to 30 foot drop that Garcia rappelled down in his homemade rope harness.  "I was trying to climb up and as soon as I grabbed it, it just started crumbling in my hand," said Garcia.  Moments later, the ground beneath his foot crumbled. Police said Garcia and Oliveira did a lot of things right in this situation: they were together, they told others the area they were going to, and they had some equipment.  Most importantly, when they realized they were in trouble, they called for help.  Nearly four hours after Garcia entered the mine shaft, he was pulled to safety.  Source document PDF Format

Rescuer Deaths in October
1896 No. 3 Shaft Explosion, South Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania — 4 killed in gas explosion, 2 fire bosses suffocated by afterdamp in attempting rescue.
1906 Pocahontas Mine Explosion, Pocahontas, Virginia — Edward Jones, the inside foreman, led the first rescue party, and when that party failed to return in a reasonable time a second rescue party under Supt. Leckie followed.  Two of the Leckie party, John Odham and Ed Brown, were overcome by gas and died.  Leckie barely escaped with his life.  Then the third party was formed and continued the work.  In the meantime, the first party had reached another entrance to the mine in safety, and sent word over the mountain announcing that fact.
1913 Dawson No. 2 Mine Explosion, Dawson, New Mexico — Of the 284 men working in the mine, 14 men escaped from an unaffected area of the mine, and nine others, unconscious at the bottom of the shaft were later rescued by a crew wearing apparatus.  Two helmet men, James Laird and William Poyser, were lost that night when they overtaxed the oxygen supply by overexertion and going in farther than instructed.  The oxygen was supplied at a fixed rate and when they tried to remove the oxygen bottles to breathe from them, they were overcome by afterdamp.  Source document External Link
1916 Jamison No. 7 Mine Explosion and Fire, Barrackville, West Virginia — Lewis M. Jones, a mining engineer from the U. S. Bureau of Mines in Pittsbugh became asphyxiated in the Jamison No. 7 Mine fire at Barrackville, West Virginia.  When Jones and seven others failed to return to the surface, additional rescuers were dispatched to bring them out.  All of the initial party recovered except Jones.  9 other miners lost their lives in the disaster.  Source documentExternal Link

On November 13, 1917, Samuel T. McMahon and Bryce Warren lost their lives while wearing Fleuss oxygen breathing apparatus in a sealed fire area in the No. 7 mine of the Jamison Coal & Coke Company, Barrackville, West Virginia.
Marvel No. 2 Mine Explosion, Marvel, Alabama — Eighteen men entered the mine and all were killed in the explosion, except one pumper who was burned but escaped.  A rescue worker without rescue apparatus was overcome and was killed by a fall from a ladder.
1924 Unnamed Mine Cave-in, Hyder, Alaska — Sherburn Atkins was killed while engaged in rescue work following a mine disaster at Hyder, Alaska.  Mr. Atkins was crushed by a portion of a mine falling in while helping some of his comrades to safety.  Source document PDF Format
1930 Dalton Coal Company Mine Fire, Dalton, Ohio — On October 8, 1930, Rush D. Hiller, an undertaker of Canton, Ohio, lost his life while wearing a ½-hour McCaa oxygen breathing apparatus on the property of the Dalton Coal Company, Dalton, Ohio.
1940 Wanamie Colliery Mine Fire, Wanamie, Pennsylvania — On October 6, 1940, Reese Phillips and Gray Lacey lost their lives while wearing Gibbs oxygen breathing apparatus after entering a sealed fire area at the Wanamie Colliery of the Glen Alden Coal Co., Wanamie, Pennsylvania.
1956 Kimberly Auger Mine Asphyxiations, Ohio — Two men died from asphyxiation and a third man was overcome in a rescue attempt at 7:15 a.m., Friday, October 12, 1956.
1970 Open-Pit Uranium Mine Electrocution, Texas — A miner was electrocuted when he drove a portable drill rig with the mast up into a high voltage powerline.  In an attempt to rescue the truck driver, another miner was also electrocuted.
2002 Storm Decline Exploration, Elko, Nevada — Team trainer, Theodore Milligan and team member, Dale Spring were fatally injured when they collapsed from excessive heat while evaluating the conditions in an inactive gold mine.  The pair's failure to have coolant cartridges installed in their breathing apparatus was identified as a principle contributing factor.

Mine Accident Research Documents
Successful Mine Rescues  (MS Word format)    (PDF format)
Listed in descending chronological order, this file contains more than 1,000 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 125 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 Killed 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 . . .