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American Metals Company
Climax Molybdenum Mine Cave-in

Leadville, Lake County, Colorado
June 7, 1930
No. Killed - 5

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Four Killed When Mine Tunnel Roof Caves In
Havre Daily News Promoter, Montana
June 8, 1930

Leadville, Colo., June 7 (AP) -- Four men were killed and six injured early today in the cave in of part of the lower tunnel of the Climax Molybdenum mine, 12 miles northeast of Leadville.

The dead:
  • Lorn Burton, Machineman, 35
  • Sherman Frazier, 30
  • Fred Sidney McMahon, Machineman, 28
  • Ralph Port, Miner 32
  • Archie M. Wilson, Shift Boss, 31
Source: Colorado Mining Fatalities, 1844-1981  (2.3 Mb)  PDF Format

Mine officials were slow to make known the names of the dead and injured. Although the miners were reported to have been wearing identification tags, mine foremen said that identification was difficult because of the condition of the bodies.

E. C. Parker, Nick Baron and Archie Wilson were the most seriously injured.

Wilson, the "shifter," said the crew was gathered over the last lifter hole to be blasted out, when a large boulder, evidently loosened from its moorings by the vibration from the electric drill, crashed down on them and precipitated the cave in. Seven men were buried, but Parker and Wilson managed to extricate Baron and themselves and eventually crawl from the workings and summon help.

Wilson said the rest of the crew was almost instantly killed, he believed.

This is the first accident of consequence in the Climax mine.

There were ten men in the mine at the time of the cave in. James Corbett, acting coroner of Leadville, telephoned here from the mine that the rescue crews had reached all of the bodies. One of the injured men, Archie Wilson, suffered fractures of several ribs and his condition is critical.

The cave in occurred 2,200 feet under the top of Mount Massive, lofty landmark of the Leadville district. It occurred in the lowest tunnel of the mine, which extends under other workings. The ground at this point is loose and wet. Several cave ins have occurred there in recent weeks but none has resulted in casualties.

The Climax mine is a subsidiary of the American Metals Company.

James Murray, district mine inspector, was en route to the accident this morning.

The Climax is the largest molybdenum mine in the United States. It is located at an altitude of 12,000 feet and employs 200 men in the mine and milling properties.

The Climax is considered one of the most successful enterprises of its kind in the mining industry. The mine was started about ten years ago, backed by Denver interests.

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