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Wyatt Coal Company
Laing No. 1 Surface Haulage Disaster

Laing, Kanawha County, West Virginia
December 15, 1942
No. Killed - 5

USBM Accident Narrative  PDF Format

Three Miners Lose Lives in Incline Ride
Cumberland Evening Times, Maryland
December 16, 1942

Charleston, W.Va., Dec. 16. (AP) -- Fourteen coal miners took a terrifying ride down a mountainside on a man-hoist out of control today, at a cost of three lives and injury to ten men.

The only miner to escape remained with the speeding car to the bottom of the 1,620-foot incline from the Wyatt Coal Company's mine at Laing on Cabin Creek.

All the others jumped and were either killed or hurt.

The dead were Arthur Fannin and Charleston Childers, negro, who died enroute to Charleston, and James Boswell, negro, who died in a hospital.

Four men were in a Charleston hospital and another was taken to a hospital at Montgomery.  Five others were treated for injuries at the scene of the mishap.

The miners, four day men and ten coal loaders, were coming off the night shift and entered the hoist car for the trip down to the road.

Company officials asserting that inspection after the accident showed the hoisting gear to be in "good shape" said the car got out of control in some unexplained manner.

Boswell was the first to jump and the wheels of the car ran over his body.

Dr. Robert Baer of Charleston, who treated the injured, said that the others leaped out while the hoist was speeding at about 50 miles an hour.

"They were pitched all over the hill," the doctor said, "and some of the injured weren't found for two hours."  James Adkins did not jump and ended the wild ride in safety.

The men brought to Charleston were Nick Champ, John Gilbert, Rufus Childers, negro, James Boswell, negro, and Carl Wilson, negro.

At Montgomery was William Green, negro.  Doctors there said he was in a critical condition.

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