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Mine Disasters in the United States


Spring Hill Coal Company
Kerns Mine Explosives Detonation

Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana
April 30, 1947
No. Killed 8

An explosion occurred in this mine which resulted in the instant death of eight men by burns and violence.  The explosion was caused by coal dust which was probably raised into the air and ignited by black blasting powder.

The deceased:
  • Chauncey Blackburn
  • John Brown
  • Fern Earhart
  • Mort Gates
  • Desire Lete
  • Barney Riggs
  • Steve Summers
  • Calvin Wilson
Source: Indiana Mining Accidents, 1878-1961  PDF Format


Eight of Eleven Miners Die in Blast near Terre Haute
The Maryville Daily Forum, Maryville, MO
May 1, 1947

Terre Haute, Ind. (AP) Eight of 11 men working in the Spring Hill coal mine near here were killed by an explosion yesterday.

Bodies of the dead, all brought to the surface last night, were identified as Calvin Wilson, about 70, pit foreman, Steve Summers, about 55, Mort Gates, about 55, John Brown, 55, Fern Earhart, about 50, Barney Riggs, 67, Desire Lete, 58, and Chauncey Blackburn, about 50.

Rescue squads said the bodies, found about 15 feet apart, indicated the men were walking toward the shaft when the explosion occurred.

Three men who escaped unhurt from the shaft said they were knocked to the mine floor by a dynamite blast which the miners 1,000 feet back in the tunnel were setting off just 12 minutes before quitting time yesterday.




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