December 2017 Mine Disaster Anniversaries


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1


View the planets for this day1907
Naomi
Mine Explosion
Fayette City, PA
No. Killed - 34

2


View the planets for this day1905
Diamondville No. 1
Mine Explosion
Diamondville, WY
No. Killed - 18

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5
6


National Miners' Day Video

View the planets for this day1907
Monongah 6 & 8
Mine Explosion
Monongah, WV
No. Killed - 362

View the planets for this day1962
Robena No. 3
Mine Explosion
Carmichaels, PA
No. Killed - 37

7


View the planets for this day1904
Mine No. 5
Mine Explosion
Burnett, WA
No. Killed - 17

1932
Jones
Mine Explosion
Madrid, NM
No. Killed - 14

1907
Rolling Mill
Hoisting Accident
Negaunee, MI
No. Killed - 10

8


View the planets for this day1981
Mine No. 21
Mine Explosion
Whitewell, TN
No. Killed - 13

9


View the planets for this day1911
Cross Mountain
Mine Explosion
Briceville, TN
No. Killed - 84

1926
Francisco No. 2
Mine Explosion
Francisco, IN
No. Killed - 37

1899
Carbon Hill No. 7
Mine Explosion
Carbonado, WA
No. Killed - 31

1932
Zero
Mine Explosion
Yancey, KY
No. Killed - 23

1914
Tripp
Hoisting Accident
Scranton, PA
No. Killed - 13

10


View the planets for this day1925
Overton No. 2
Mine Explosion
Acmar, AL
No. Killed - 53

11


View the planets for this day1910
Leyden
Mine Fire
Leyden, CO
No. Killed - 10

12
13


View the planets for this day1916
Fidelity No. 9
Mine Explosion
Stone City, KS
No. Killed - 20

14
15


View the planets for this day1917
Yukon No. 1
Mine Explosion
Bluefield, WV
No. Killed - 18

16


View the planets for this day1907
Yolande
Mine Explosion
Yolande, AL
No. Killed - 57

1913
Vulcan
Mine Explosion
New Castle, CO
No. Killed - 37

17


View the planets for this day1929
Old Town
Mine Explosion
McAlester, OK
No. Killed - 61

18


View the planets for this day1895
Cumnock
Mine Explosion
Cumnock, NC
No. Killed - 39

View the planets for this day1885
Nanticoke No. 1
Quicksand Inrush
Nanticoke, PA
No. Killed - 26

19


View the planets for this day1907
Darr
Mine Explosion
Jacobs Creek, PA
No. Killed - 239

View the planets for this day1984
Wilberg
Mine Fire
Orangeville, UT
No. Killed - 27

View the planets for this day1917
Barbour No. 6
Mine Explosion
Catoosa, TN
No. Killed - 11

20


View the planets for this day1895
Nelson
Mine Explosion
Dayton, TN
No. Killed - 28

21


View the planets for this day1951
Orient No. 2
Mine Explosion
West Frankfort, IL
No. Killed - 119

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23


View the planets for this day1932
Shafer
Mine Explosion
Moweaqua, IL
No. Killed - 54

1899
Braznell
Mine Explosion
Brownsville, PA
No. Killed - 19

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26


View the planets for this day1945
Belva No. 1
Mine Explosion
Pineville, KY
No. Killed - 24

27


View the planets for this day1957
Pocahontas 31
Mine Explosion
Amonate, VA
No. Killed - 11

28
29


View the planets for this day1908
Lick Branch
Mine Explosion
Switchback, WV
No. Killed - 50

30


View the planets for this day1970
Finley 15 & 16
Mine Explosion
Hyden, KY
No. Killed - 38

31


View the planets for this day1907
Bernal
Mine Explosion
Carthage, NM
No. Killed - 11

View the planets for this day1910
Lick Fork
Mine Cars
Thacker, WV
No. Killed - 10

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Did You Know? The month of December has accounted for 78 mine disasters in which 1,916 miners were killed; 17 successful rescues (longest - 15 days); and the death of 12 rescuers in 5 incidents.

Successful Rescue Summary Rescuer Death Summary All December Mine Disasters

Successful Mine Rescues in December
1869 December 18, 1869 - The East Sugar Loaf Colliery cave-in in Stockton, Pennsylvania claimed 10 lives on Dec. 18, 1869; only three bodies were ever recovered.  The cave-in occurred at 5 a.m. when two houses were swallowed into the ground.  A third home went into the subsidence and all but one person got out.  It was a young girl who was later rescued from a rooftop.  One outcome of the Stockton Mine cave-in was that houses were not built so close to mines after the incident.  See more.
1899 Carbon Hill No. 7 Mine Explosion, Carbonado, Washington — Two men were rescued more than 18 hours after the explosion.  They are Peter Merp, a Frenchman, and Michael Kulsh, a Pole.  Merp had been blindly groping around in the darkness most of the night on his hands and knees, seeking for some avenue of escape.
1901 McAlester No. 1 Hoisting Disaster, Hartshorne, Oklahoma — Two miners were rescued from the McAlester No. 1 mine after an undisclosed period.  The cage was ascending with eight men when it jumped its guidings about 100 feet from the bottom of the shaft.  6 of the 8 dropped to the shaft bottom to their death.  The other two, who held on to the cage, had to be drawn up to the surface with ropes.  Miraculously, these men were said to be only slightly injured.
1906 Rescuers worked around the clock to release Lindsay B. Hicks from his tomb in the Edison Tunnel near Bakersfield, California.  Trapped there with five other miners on December 7, Hicks’ freedom finally came after his 15 day entrapment.  He was the only survivor.  On December 12, speaking through a pipe, Hicks told rescuers that he had survived on 40 cents of chewing tobacco.  Victory finally came for his rescuers on December 22nd at 11:25 p.m.  Source documentExternal Link
1908 Lick Branch Mine Explosion, Switchback, West Virginia — At 11 o'clock p.m., 8 hours after the explosion, eighteen of the entombed men had been taken out of the colliery alive.  They had been stifled by smoke and were not seriously injured enough to make their removal to a hospital necessary.
1910 Greeno Mine Explosion, Tacoma, Virginia — Four miners were either rescued or otherwise made their way to the surface after more than twelve hours following the explosion in the Greeno mine which killed eight.  The four included John Swede, James Rosenburg, John Ritsky, and G. E. Lehman.  Rosenburg was badly burned on his head, face and hands.  The others were reported to be in good condition.  Note: corrected name spellings are taken from the final accident investigation report.
1911 Four miners were found alive after an undisclosed period following an explosion in the Cross Mountain mine at Briceville, Tennessee.  Discovery of Andrew Johnson was made when a dead miner was found in a sitting position in one of the interior chambers.  Johnson and the other three were suffering from blackdamp.  Source documentExternal Link
1915 A rock slide choked the main gangway in the Newcastle Mine of the Pacific Coast Coal Company near Seattle, Washington, trapping Thomas Zathias for nine hours.  Rescuers expected to find his crushed body when they broke through the 60 feet of debris, but instead, they found him calmly sitting on his dinner bucket, awaiting deliverance.  Source documentExternal Link
1929 Old Town Mine Explosion, McAlester, Oklahoma — Two miners found their exit blocked after the explosion.  At this point, one of these men, Frank Gonzales, saw a third miner, Arnold Kissinger, collapse.  Mr. Gonzales and the second miner, Joe Ponsella, next dragged Mr. Kissinger into a room where there wasn't much smoke and worked with him for about three hours.  "After awhile, said Gonzales, when no one came to help us, we believed we would die.  I said my prayers but I was not scared."  Rescue workers reached the three men five hours after the explosion.
1932 Morgan Jones Mine Explosion, Madrid, New Mexico — Following the first impact of the explosion, some ten men near the outer edge of the area made a dash for the main passageway.  Three of these, including Jimmie Taylor, 19, son of H. L. Taylor, assistant superintendent of the company's Madrid mines, were overcome.  They were picked up and carried out safely by their comrades.  Andrew Sampria, rushing out, picked up a prostrate form and carried it with him.  When he had reached the area of clean air, he learned that it was his own son, Pete, he had rescued.
1940 December 31, 1940 — 18 hours after a 70-foot roof fall entrapment in the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company’s Kent No. 2 Mine in McIntyre, PA, the following miners were rescued: Edgar Swan, Louis Canton, J. Fulmer, Leland Stutchell and Paul Cochran.  Six months later, a mine explosion in the Kent No. 2 mine would take the lives of 7 miners.  Source documentExternal Link
1950 His life saved by the same huge beam that kept him prisoner for 54 hours, John Wolti was freed from his tomb by rescuers in the Big 4 coal mine at Selleck, Washington.  Wolti was brought out of the mine with a crushed arm and suffering from shock and was expected to be hospitalized for a week to ten days.  Source documentExternal Link
1951 One miner, Cecil Sanders, was rescued after 60 hours from the Orient No. 2 coal mine in West Frankfort, Illinois following an explosion which killed 119.  At that time, this disaster was the nation's worst in the preceding 23 years.  Source documentExternal Link
1957 Mine No. 31 Explosion, Amonate, Virginia — Fourteen miners were trapped for six hours, but were rescued unharmed.  They had protected themselves from poisonous fumes by stretching canvas over openings in the shaft.  Woodrow Evans, 44, of Amonate, foreman of the 14-man group rescued at about 1 a.m., said his men remained calm during their wait and "some of them even ate their lunch."  The 14 joined their families at the surface and went home to rest.
1970 Loren Hinkle was rescued after his 24-hour entombment following a roof fall in the Leckie Coal Company mine near Anjean, West Virginia.  Rescuers delivered water and orange juice through a two-inch emergency air vent while they dug him out.  Killed in the accident were R. B. Crookshanks and Charles Pitzenbarger.  Ironically, Hinkle previously escaped death in a mine fire and another roof collapse.  Source documentExternal Link
1972 ltmann Coal Company, Itmann No. 3 Mine Explosion — Three miners were brought out by rescue crews about six hours after the explosion.  They were identified as Larry Bailey, 23, of Brenton; Dallas Mullins, 32, of Pineville; and Jerry Billings.  All three were said to be in critical condition.
1987 Charles Simpson, Jr. was rescued 19 hours after a roof fall accident at the Slate Top Coal Company mine near Woodbine, Kentucky.  Source documentExternal Link

Rescuer Deaths in December
1907 Monongah Nos. 6 and 8 Mine Explosion, Monongah, West Virginia — John Narey died in the mine rescue effort during the mine disaster at Monongah Mine, West Virginia Dec. 6, 1907. (from an article in the "Latrobe Bulletin," Latrobe, PA, Dec. 18, 1907.)  In all, three men are said to have lost their lives in the rescue work at Monongah, apparently overcome with smoke or poisonous gases lingering in the mines because they had no proper equipment for entering exploding mines, or proper equipment to revive rescuers or miners who had succumbed to their smoke and poisonous gases.
1921 Satanic Mine Fire, Morrison, Colorado — Six men were killed by firedamp in the Satanic coal mine of the Colorado Collieries Company, when they attempted to place a bulkhead on the 100-foot level of an abandoned shaft, used as an air course, to stop a fire.  The only man brought to the surface, apparently still alive, was Eugene F. Bovie, Sr., of Morrison, father of a young miner, who was overcome when he attempted to rescue his son.
No. 1 Mine Explosion, Ellsworth, Pennsylvania — On December 31, 1921, Albert Gilmore, a section foreman, lost his life in the No. 1 mine of the Ellsworth Collieries Company, Ellsworth, Pennsylvania, while wearing a Gibbs 2-hour oxygen breathing apparatus following a local mine explosion.
1925 Charles Hjurguist died while he and three others were searching for two miners trapped in the Fairview Gold Mine fire and cave-in on December 4 near Nederland, Colorado.  One of the trapped men died in the fire and the other was removed in serious condition and hospitalized.  Three other smoke-affected rescuers were also hospitalized in serious condition.   Source documentExternal Link
1985 No. 2 Slope Afterdamp Asphyxiation, Carlstown, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania — Rick Wolfgang helped his injured brother from the No. 2 Slope of the MS&W Coal Company, but perished when he returned to the 4-foot wide tunnel to try to save his father, Gene Wolfgang.  Toxic gas flooded the area after the men set off a dynamite charge in the mine.  Frank Benner also perished in the accident.

Download the Master File in Word Format Download the Master File in MS Word or Adobe PDF format containing all 12 months of successful mine rescues and incidents of rescuer deaths. Download the Master File
Download these lists in chronological order
Rescuer Deaths  MS Word Icon
Successful Rescues  MS Word Icon

Additional Resources:

The links below include pages from the Bureau of Mines Annual Reports which describe accidents in which lives were saved.

1915       1916       1917       1918       1919       1921

Bureau of Mines Information Circular No. 7279 shows that from 1911 to 1940, inclusive, 26 men lost their lives while wearing oxygen breathing apparatus in this country.



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