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Mine Disasters in the United States

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Oliver Iron Mining Company
Norrie Mine Collapse

Ironwood, Gogebic County, Michigan
May 13, 1912
No. Killed - 7

Successful Rescues

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.

Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States, Volume III

13 Killed in Cave-in
Oelwein Daily Register, Iowa
May 15, 1912

Ironwood, Mich., May 15. -- An underground cave-in on the 2,000-foot level of the Norrie mine, operated by the United States Steel Corporation, caught thirteen miners out of a crew of forty working in that section of the mine, and it is thought that all of them are dead under thousands of tons of iron ore.  Two bodies have been recovered and it is thought the others will be secured before night.

Those reported dead:
  • Vincent Sanbrowitz
  • Frank Jaseczek
  • John T. Ztach
  • August Clys
  • Bert Jacisin
  • Jacob Anderson
  • Thomas Resik
  • Oscar Kangas
  • Charles Neimark
  • George Hornkiss
  • Karl Majirski
  • Peter Wilji
Ten of the men are married.

The accident occurred on the nineteenth level.  The roof of the entire level gave way and the men were buried under tons of earth and stone.

It was at first reported that the accident was caused by an explosion and miners fled from other parts of the mine, fearing the poisonous gases that follow such accidents.  When it was learned that the accident was due to a cave-in a rescue party was rushed to the entrance of the level and the work of removing debris begun.

Believing that some of the men might still be alive, an effort was made to drive pipes through the fallen earth toward the place where the miners were imprisoned.  After the two bodies were recovered, however, hope that the men might be alive was abandoned.  The bodies recovered were terribly crushed and broken.

Note: The official number dead in this disaster was 7.

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