Tank's Poetry
united states mine rescue association
Mine Disasters in the United States

Mining Music

The Quecreek Nine
Lyrics: Marcia McKenzie
Music: Variation on "In the Pines"

See also: Quecreek Mine Inundation

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Three hundred feet below the ground, they made their way along.
They dug their drills into that wall, but the map they had was wrong.
The wall was breached, the flood unleashed, and they were swept away.
In the mines, in the mines, where the sun never shines, and you long for the light of day.

They yelled to the crew that came behind to flee or face their doom.
Then the river rose and blocked their way and sealed them in their tomb.
As they turned around, seeking higher ground, their hopes did fade away.
In the mines...

Through the chin-deep flood they fought the tide; their wet clothes dragged them down.
They reached a ledge, and they caught their breath, and they took a look around.
One of their own was trapped alone, for he'd gone the other way.
In the mines...

He couldn't cross, no, he'd be lost - the current was too strong.
One of their crew held out a boom and prayed he could hold on.
A daring move, but it did prove to save one life that day.
In the mines...

Two hours had past and then, at last, an air pipe did appear.
Their hopes were raised, and so they prayed the rescue would be near.
They tapped the pipe and kept it up to show they were okay.
In the mines...

With heavy rocks and cinderblocks they built up five stone walls.
But, though they tried, the deadly tide did rise above them all.
It was too late: they saw their fate. Their time had slipped away.
In the mines...

They tied themselves together, so if one of them should fall,
They decided if the mine took one, the mine would take them all.
They wrote good-byes to those they loved and sealed them in a pail.
In the mines...

In their four-foot space they huddled close to share their bodies' heat.
They laid a curtain on the ground and, one by one, did sleep.
But, crouching cold and wet, the shaking would not go away.
In the mines...

After eighteen hours of silence, they heard that drill again.
They felt it's shake but wondered would it get to them in time?
The water, it was going down, but they could only pray.
In the mines...

Three days had past, and then, at last, they broke into their lair.
They dropped a phone and said, "Hello, is anybody there?"
"All nine alive!" was their reply, "But send some food our way!"
In the mines...

And so they raised them one by one up to the cheering crowd.
So far below they never knew so many had worked so hard.
Some called it luck to end this way,
"A miracle," they heard them say,
That saved the Quecreek Nine that day

From the mines, from the mines, from the Quecreek Mines; they saw the light of day.
From the mines, from the mines, from the Quecreek Mines, they were raised up on that day.

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