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Anaconda Copper Mining Company
Anaconda Mine Powered Haulage Disaster

Butte, Silver Bow County, Montana
November 3, 1891
No. Killed - 9

Report of the Montana Inspector of Mines  PDF Format
In the News
News icon Buffalo Commercial, Nov. 4, 1891
News icon Boston Globe, Nov. 4, 1891
News icon Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Nov. 4, 1891
News icon Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 4, 1891
News icon Salem Daily News, Nov. 5, 1891
News icon Anaconda Standard, Nov. 5, 1891

Mine Calamity

Further Particulars of the Accident in the Anaconda Mine

Hamilton Daily Democrat, Ohio
November 5, 1891

Butte, Mont., Nov. 5. -- Further particulars of the accident in the Anaconda mine has reached here.  It was the most terrible accident in the history of Montana.  Nine men were killed and one injured.

The killed are:

James O'Donnell, Charles M. Evans, John Ritchie, James G. Sullivan, Patrick Mulligan, Michael McAvoy, James Roach, William Martin, Dennis Shaughnessy.

Jerry Harrington is injured, but not fatally.

At the 900-foot level a large number of men were waiting to be raised to the surface for their lunch. The cage has an upper and lower deck, and the rules are that only nine men shall be allowed on each deck.

In this case, however, the men crowded into the cage, and it is believed that not less than twenty started on the terrible ride to death.  When between the 300 and 400-foot levels James O'Donnell, who was on the upper deck, lost his self-possession and fell over the side of the cage.  He fell between the cage and the wall of the shaft down to the lower deck of the cage, where he struck the men crowded there in such a way as to knock almost all of them off.  Altogether eight men were knocked from the cage down to the sump, which is 1,200 feet below the surface.

Two others were brought to the surface badly injured and one of these died in a short time.  The bodies brought to the surface were so mangled as to be scarcely recognizable, except by their clothing.  In some cases the bodies were so crushed that only a basketful of remains could be gathered.  An inquest has been begun, but is not yet completed.

A Drop to Death
The Weekly News, Mansfield, Ohio
November 5, 1891

Butte, Mon., Nov. 4. -- Several men met death in an awful form in the Anaconda mine near here at midnight Tuesday night.  The time had come to shift the gangs of men, and a cage full of miners returning from work stepped out into the open air.  Their places were at once taken by nineteen men who were to take up the work they had just abandoned, and the cage was started toward the depths below.

The rope had been unwound but a couple of times from the slowly revolving windlass, when there was a sudden snap, a cry of horror from the shaft in which the cage had but a moment before disappeared, and then a cry went up from the men who had just come to the surface.  The rope had broken, and the cage with its nineteen inmates was precipitated to the bottom of the mine.  It was some little time before any assistance could be sent them.  The shaft down which they had plunged to death was useless and other ways of getting at the place where they had fallen were roundabout.

Fortunately, there was some help for the dead and dying men in the mine itself.  A number of miners who were through work and waiting to be relieved were at the bottom of the shaft waiting for the cage to take them out.  Amidst them, narrowly missing some, the cage dashed.  It broke, and before their horror-stricken eyes were the mangled bodies of the companions whom they were awaiting.  When they had recovered from the shock word of the accident was sent through the mine, and from the darkness came men hurrying to the relief.  There was little, however, that could be done.

Of the nineteen who made the fearful ride of over 500 feet seventeen were dead, their forms crushed out of all semblance to those of human beings, while the two who were yet breathing have no hopes of recovery.  Their comrades bore them out of the ruin, awaited help from above, but any aid that could have been given them was useless.

The Anaconda mine is the biggest in this territory.  It employs 400 men and was reopened after a long closing, Oct. 23.  The fact that it was reopened on a Friday was commented on at the time by superstitious miners, and many were afraid to work in it.

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