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Mine Disasters in the United States


Pickands, Mather and Company
Elba Mine Cave-in

Gilbert, Saint Louis County, Minnesota
March 13, 1911
No. Killed 2

In the News:
News icon Escanaba Morning Press, Mar. 16, 1911  (2.0 Mb)  PDF Format
News icon Ironwood Times, Mar. 18, 1911  (2.6 Mb)  PDF Format


Successful Rescue

Captain Benny and two miners were entombed 250 feet down in the Elba mine.  After an undisclosed period described only as "hours", Captain Benny was rescued alive and taken to his home.  His condition was reported as extremely critical.  William J. Stone, an Englishman, and Joseph Bovich, an Austrian, are the men who lost their lives.  Source document.


Buried Miners Reached by Pipe

Gilbert, Minn., March 13. -- Captain Benny and two miners were entombed 250 feet down in the Elba mine at Elba location, just outside of the village.

Through an iron pipe three inches in diameter air was transmitted to them and continued wrappings upon this pipe encouraged the rescuing parties to believe that the four might be reached.

Benny and his companions were caught on the first level by a cave-in of ore and rock.  The mass piled up many feet high.

There was another man in the party and he just missed being walled up.  Although he escaped, it was not without painful injuries.  He reached the shaft almost in a state of collapse and told what had happened.

In remarkably short time scores of miners were crowded about eager to help in the work of rescue.  The very first move' was the driving through of the big iron pipe, which gave air to the prisoners.

Almost instantly they began to tap on the pipe.  There were answering taps from the mouth of the level and as rescuing parties of eight to ten men shoveled away hour after hour the tapping from the four men was kept up incessantly.

The rescue work was necessarily slow but confidence was expressed that the men would hold out.

The Elba mine employs about 200 men when running full capacity.  It is in charge of Superintendent Chinn and is owned by Pickands, Mather and Company of Cleveland.

Captain Benny was rescued alive and taken to his home.  The two miners, however, met what must have been instant death as their bodies were bruised and crushed in a horrible shape.  That Captain Benny is still alive is considered a marvel after receiving the injuries which he did and undergoing the terrible ordeal in the death trap for so many hours.  His condition is reported as extremely critical, and it would occasion no surprise should he succumb.

William J. Stone, an Englishman, and Joseph Bovich, an Austrian, are the men who lost their lives.  Stone was a single man, aged 23 years.  He was a native of Cornwall, England, and had been in America only about a year.  Bovich was about 35 years old.  He leaves a wife and five children.




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