This Bureau of Mines circular provides
information showing that from 1911 to 1940, inclusive, 26 men lost their lives while wearing oxygen breathing apparatus
in this country. Find more training resources in our Safety Training Materials Repository.
Records are listed in ascending chronological order
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Six men were asphyxiated in the Grizzly mine from carbon monoxide. Three of them were killed in an effort to rescue
others. The cause of the accident is ascribed to smoke from the engine furnace on the tunnel level,
the exit of which had become choked, and thereby smoke was driven back through the mine.
Ten brave men were risking their lives endeavoring to reopen the Diamondville No. 1 coal mine. They were all knocked down,
one by one, by blackdamp. When help arrived, two were already dead, and the others were resuscitated with great
difficulty. The names of the dead are John L. Russell and Lee Wright. Source document.
The initial blast occurred at about 6 p.m. on June 10. About 1 hour after the initial blast, Superintendent William McCune (or McComb), Dennis Wortley, Michael Roy, several other bosses, along with about 20 other men went down Shaft No. 1 in search of 4 missing miners. About 3 hours after the rescue party had been in the mine, more explosions were heard.
Four hours later, four more men volunteered to enter the mine, but as of 3 a.m. on June 11, they too had not returned. Shortly after 3 a.m., W. Sweeney, Harry Beveridge and Frank Stratton worked their way out of the mine and were put under the care of physicians. All three of these men later died. Lawrence Settler and John Stakes were the only ones rescued from the mine. While 19 is the official death toll, it is unclear exactly how many were rescuers. See all related news.
While the fires were being fought, a small explosion occurred, which injured no one, but blew out some of the brattices and allowed the smoke and gases to pass through into the adjoining West Mine. Nine men in the West Mine were overcome by smoke and suffocated. On November 22, 1901, a rescue party of eight men was also overcome by gases in the West Mine and suffocated.
34 miners were killed following a magazine explosion in the Daly West and Ontario Silver Mines in Park City, Utah. The magazine, located in the Daly West mine, exploded after miner, John Burgy, entered carrying a lit candle. Three of the deceased were rescuers: John McLaughlin; James Smith; and Jack Ballon, all of whom died of asphyxiation while rendering aid and searching for survivors. McLaughlin died after making his second trip into the mine. Several of the dead were in the adjacent Ontario mine. With the exception of Mr. Burgy, all the miners died from asphyxiation.
At the first alarm the 170 employees hastened to extinguish the flames. The Mine Superintendent entered the tunnel through the fire and smoke to warn the entombed miners and to aid them to escape. He returned and tried to enter the mine by the air shaft but fell from the ladder and was killed.
Of 175 mine workers underground at the time, the single survivor was the severely burned 16-year-old, Adolph Gunia. Other casualties included Daniel A. Lyle and the mine engineer, Selwyn M. Taylor, who both gave their lives in rescue attempts after responding to the scene. Greatly touched by Taylor's and Lyle's sacrifice, Andrew Carnegie had medals privately minted for their families, and within two months had established a $5 million Carnegie Hero Fund as a result.
49 miners died as a result of two explosions in the Zeigler Mine. In an effort to recover the entombed men, five rescuers
were overcome by afterdamp. The rescuers were let down by hand. In two instances, the men above were nearly overcome by gas.
Five hours after the mine ceased operations for the day, an explosion occurred in the Rush Run mine, in which 8 men lost their lives. The explosion extended into the Red Ash mine, where 5 more men lost their lives. To rescue these men, 11 men entered the Rush Run mine and
were lost in a second explosion. Source document.
After a house was toppled into a pit cut by clay diggers in Haverstraw, NY, five men went to the rescue to aid their neighbors. After the first house fell, twelve other houses went crashing over the precipice. The wreckage quickly caught fire, and those who were in the mass were either crushed or burned to death. Seventeen persons were killed.
To suppress a fire, the fan was reversed, which reversed the air current supplying fresh air to the fighters in room 6. This resulted in forcing the noxious gases onto the men fighting the fire in room 6. Six men lost their lives from the crew fighting the fire in room 6, while two of the rescuers, Roy Carey and Joe Bracey, lost their lives in a vain attempt to rescue the men fighting the fire in room 6.
Edward Jones, the inside foreman, led the first rescue party, and when that party failed to return in a reasonable time a second rescue party under Supt. Leckie followed. Two of the Leckie party, John Odham and Ed Brown, were overcome by gas and died. Leckie barely escaped with his life. Then the third party was formed and continued the work. Meantime the first party had reached another entrance to the mine in safety, and sent word over the mountain announcing that fact.
A rescue party of 7 men entered the mine and were exploring for survivors. They had penetrated as far as the third heading when suddenly the current of air died away. The motor which operated the large fan above the entrance had burned out. Now exposed to the blackdamp, 4 of these men were quickly overcome. Dan R. Jones died from asphyxiation and the other 3 were removed by re-enforcements and revived under the treatment of physicians.
Victim’s little son was waiting for his father to finish work so that he might ride the horse to the barn. As the father was dumping his last car, the boy fell into the hot ashes. The father jumped to rescue him and both were so badly burned that they died a few days later.
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.
Mine Superintendent, Alexander Briggs, along with 19 volunteers were killed by an explosion in the Union Pacific Coal Company’s Hanna No. 1 mine. This group had gone into the mine to fight a fire that had been raging there since the previous Saturday. A short time later, a second explosion occurred in the mine, killing 39 others, including State Mine Inspector, D. M. Elie, who had gone into the mine with hopes of rescuing the first group. In all, 59 were killed in this disaster.
After extinguishing the blaze, five rescuers searching for 3 missing miners fell victim to toxic mine air. In all, 6 were
killed in the incident, including Victor Erickson, along with rescuers Peter McNini, Roy Coburn, Alf Johnson, A. W. Burns, and Gus Olson. John Sunston and Otto Johnson were returned to the surface barely alive.
" . . . there were 259 men and boys who were never saved despite great deeds of heroism by volunteer rescue teams. Sadly, that heroism was rewarded with death for no less than twelve of the rescuers. They were a hastily assembled team of people from the town who went down in the cage six times, each time dragging more miners to safety. From the seventh trip into the hell below, however, none returned alive."
A member of the rescue crew who gave his breathing apparatus to one of the four men found behind a barricade stayed behind to wait for the party's return. He was later found overcome in another part of the mine and died the next morning.
On February 9, 1911, E. A. Sutton, assistant superintendent of the Cokedale mine of the Carbon Coal & Coke Company, Carbondale, Colorado, lost his life while wearing a Draeger helmet-type oxygen breathing apparatus after an explosion in this mine in which 17 men were killed. It is believed that this was the first instance in the United States, wherein a person died while wearing oxygen breathing apparatus.
William A. "Big Bill" Murphy, a 28-year-old cage operator, twice successfully descended into the Belmont Mine inferno to bring confused and unconscious co-workers to the surface. Said to say "he was nearly done in," he made his third descent into the mine. This would be his last. In 2006, a statue was erected and dedicated in Tonopah to "Big Bill," the hero of the Belmont Mine Fire.
Two pipeline men
noticed smoke coming from the direction of the shaft and discovered that the North Slope engine room was on fire. When the fire in the
engine room was under control, the crew noticed that the timbers and a large number of mine cars on the passing branch were also burning.
Victims included 69 miners and four rescue worker who fell victim to poisonous gas, including Joe E. Evans, who was the Foreman of Federal
Rescue Car No. 1. Also killed while attempting to help others were: Walter Knight, mine foreman; Isaac Dawe, fire boss; and John R.
Perry. These men rushed beyond the flames to warn others farther in the workings.
Within 1 hour after the discovery of the fire, an attempt was made to begin rescue operations without the aid of breathing apparatus. Three bodies were discovered. However, because of the reversal of the air current while erecting a stopping, the smoke became so dense that the shift boss ordered the men to return to the surface. One man attempted to remain and finish the stopping but was overcome. It was several hours before rescuers reached him, but he was dead. Three of the others attempted to go out to the Cambria shaft but were overcome and were revived with great difficulty.
It is believed that the six dead miners, realizing that there had been an explosion, dropped their dinner buckets and ran further into the mine to rescue their fellow workmen. The dinner buckets were found about a mile and a half from the innermost workings of the mine, which is five miles from the entrance.
John Ferrell of the U. S. Bureau of Mines was killed while exploring a mine in which a fire was raging. Ferrell
had been in charge of the Bureau of Mines Rescue Car No. 5 since October 1911. At a mine rescue a few weeks
earlier at Briceville, Tennessee, Ferrell rescued five men. It is unknown if any others were killed or injured
in the Cherry Valley Mine Fire.
An explosion occurred in which 97 men were killed and subsequently one of the rescue party wearing breathing apparatus lost his life. About 167 men were in the mine at the time of the explosion. About 67 escaped uninjured through old workings, and three were rescued alive - one by the first rescue parties and 2 some sixty-hours later by exploring parties.
Five men were killed by blackdamp in a deserted shaft of a coal mine belonging to the Taylor Mining Company. The
men were working near the shaft when C. F. Frazier went to explore the abandoned digging. He fell into the water
and with the four others who went to his rescue succumbed to blackdamp. The miners attempting to rescue Frazier included John Killers, J. P. Ramer, F. Tourk, and Jim Porter.
Five miners met their death when they entered the East Brookside Anthracite Mine following an explosion there. While attempting to rescue victims of the first blast, a second methane explosion
occurred, sealing their fate. The first explosion, believed to be caused by dynamite, killed 15 miners. One of the rescuers managed to escape, but died a few hours later.
Of the 284 men working in the mine, 14 men escaped from an unaffected area of the mine, and nine others, unconscious at the bottom of the shaft were later rescued by a crew wearing apparatus. Two helmet men, James Laird and William Poyser, were lost that night when they overtaxed the oxygen supply by overexertion and going in farther than instructed. The oxygen was supplied at a fixed rate and when they tried to remove the oxygen bottles to breathe from them, they were overcome by afterdamp. Source document.
Apparatus man succumbed during recovery work. Mr. Gomer Phillips was an employee of the Cambria Steel Company of Johnstown, PA. Mr. Phillips was a voluntary rescue man in the Johnstown explosion and came to his death while wearing the apparatus in attempting to rescue the men in the explosion. Mr. Phillips was the captain of the rescue team.
On September 17, 1915, Thomas Hendrickson, a foreman of the International Exploration Company, lost his life while wearing a Draeger 2-hour oxygen breathing apparatus during an exploration in the Alta-Quincy tunnel, near Salt Lake City, Utah, leased by the Albion Mining Company.
Approximately 195 men were hoisted to the surface in less than 45 minutes after the discovery of the fire. Six men escaped through the 1,000-foot level to the Tramway mine. Subsequently, two men lost their lives while wearing Dräger apparatus during rescue and recovery work.
Lewis M. Jones, a mining engineer from the U. S. Bureau of Mines in Pittsbugh
became asphyxiated in the Jamison No. 7 Mine fire at Barrackville, West Virginia. When Jones and seven others
failed to return to the surface, additional rescuers were dispatched to bring them out. All of the
initial party recovered except Jones. 9 other miners lost their lives in the
disaster. Source document.
On November 13, 1917, Samuel T. McMahon and Bryce Warren lost
their lives while wearing Fleuss oxygen breathing apparatus in a sealed fire area in the No. 7 mine of the Jamison Coal & Coke Company, Barrackville, West Virginia.
Eighteen men entered the mine and all were killed in the explosion, except one pumper who was burned but escaped. A rescue worker without rescue apparatus was overcome and was killed by a fall from a ladder.
On May 6, 1917, Walter Kerr, a member of a mine rescue team of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, died wearing a Draeger 2-hour oxygen breathing apparatus, while helping to recover bodies, after an explosion in the Hastings mine of the Victor-American Fuel Company, Hastings, Colorado, in which 121 men were killed. The explosion was caused by a mine inspector striking a match to relight his safety lamp about 120 feet from the face of 7 South entry.
Two men obtained permission from the mine foreman to investigate the results of blasting on the 1,400-foot level. When they did not return, the foreman went to investigate, returned, and with two others climbed down to the 1,400-foot level, where all three were overcome. Before proper supervision could be obtained and rescue work begun, three others had attempted to help by going to the 1,400 foot level (all at different times). Only one was able to return to safety. Seven men lost their lives from asphyxiation.
On February 26, 1918, David Murphy, an experienced mine rescue volunteer from Dawson, New Mexico, lost his life while wearing a Fleuss mouthpiece-type oxygen breathing apparatus during an exploration trip in the Government mine of the Carthage Fuel Company, Carthage, New Mexico.
On August 25, 1919, James S. Cunningham, foreman miner of Bureau of Mines rescue car No. 2, died while wearing a Salvus ½-hour apparatus in a gasoline storage tank of the Sinclair Oil & Refining Company, Trinidad, Colorado.
Following an explosion in the Submarine mine at Clinton, Indiana, James Smith, Art Thompson and Frank Hughes were victims of afterdamp while attempting to recover the body of John Howe. Jimmie Needham, also a member of the rescue party, was injured.
A miner was electrocuted and instantly killed at a sub-station of the Washington Water Power Plant, when he was endeavoring
to rescue a patrol man of the company, whom he found burned and unconscious upon going to the sub-station to investigate
the cause of the power being shut off at the plant in which he was working.
C O A L
Pacific Coast Coal Company Black Diamond No. 2 Mine Rescue Training Fatalities Black Diamond, Washington
On July 10, 1920, Henry DeWinter, Hugh Hughes, and James Hudson lost their lives while wearing oxygen breathing apparatus in an abandoned slope of the Black Diamond No. 2 mine of the Pacific Coast Coal Company, Black Diamond, Washington.
Three men lost their lives by suffocation in oxygen apparatus while opening a fire sealed area to see if the fire was extinguished. The oxygen of one of the three man crew was fully consumed and the two other men used up all their oxygen in attempted rescue of the one man who went down.
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.
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.
Two helmetmen were overcome, and late Saturday, George Wilson, head of a crew from Standardville, died from asphyxiation when the nose piece of his helmet became detached several hundred feet inside the main portal.
Charles Hjurguist died while he and three others were searching for two miners trapped in the Fairview Gold Mine fire and cave-in 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.
Immediately after the blast, Cecil Fulkerson, manager, led a squad of rescue men into the pit. With him were Archie and Leonard Huter and George Brandon, Jr., whose fathers were killed in the explosion. Archie Huter, Brandon, and two others were asphyxiated by blackdamp. Fulkerson and Leonard Huter were overcome by the gas and their condition was serious.
Two mine rescue men sacrificed their lives in a fruitless effort to save a fellow rescuer from deadly gas in the Connellsville By-Product Company mine near Morgantown, WV. The three victims were part of a crew from Parnassus, PA. Crews of helmet men were sent in to explore sealed workings to determine whether flooding of the mine had extinguished a fire. C. Roy Rushton, Frank Burns and William Heagy formed this crew. For some unexplained reason, Rushton removed the mouthpiece of his breathing apparatus. He soon collapsed, a victim of carbon monoxide.
The three men in the connected No. 3 mine were killed by the forces, and 17 of those in No. 1 mine died in the afterdamp. Five of the men in No. 1 mine successfully barricaded themselves and were rescued. Three men of a fresh air crew were killed by a
falling roof slab on February 7. Source document.
During the time the State Mine rescue team was erecting seals outby the fire, several motor trips of material were sent into the 7th north haulage road which is on the return for this section. With these trips, there were between 15 and 20 men, who had been sent to assist with the sealing. All of these men were more or less affected with carbon monoxide; nine of them lost their lives.
Two men persuaded a third to lower them to an area of dangerous atmospheric conditions. The third man realized the seriousness of the situation but gave little or no thought to the atmospheric conditions. He proceeded down the manway until he was overcome and fell to the bottom. A fourth man, in a solitary attempt to rescue the third, was overcome and also fell to within 5 feet of the bottom. When the shift boss and four others arrived, they attempted to recover the bodies. Two men were lowered in the bucket, and both were overcome.
Columbia firemen were
called to remove the four bodies and helped save a fifth worker who was in serious condition. Mine owner Louis Metz
and his father-in-law were overcome by gas as they went into the mine to pump water. The miner’s three younger brothers
came to help and they too fell victim to the deadly gas. Source document.
A spark from a locomotive ignited a body of methane in the first explosion, a fire ignited the 2nd. Two were killed in the first explosion and 7 were killed in the second explosion. The others died in an effort to rescue their fellow man,
when a second explosion of gas took place. Source document.
On this Saturday morning 176 men were in the mine, when an explosion killed 66 by burns and violence and 3 by burns and afterdamp. Two others attempting rescue were asphyxiated, and 1 rescued man died 6 days later from effects of afterdamp.
On May 16, 1940, Andrew Wolfgang, a foreman of the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Co., and captain of a mine rescue team, lost his life while wearing a McCaa 2-hour oxygen breathing apparatus, in an attempt to rescue a miner at the bottom of a 50-foot, almost vertical, shaft at a "bootleg" mining operation.
On October 6, 1940, Reese Phillips and Gray Lacey lost their lives while wearing Gibbs oxygen breathing apparatus after entering a sealed fire area at the Wanamie Colliery of the Glen Alden Coal Co., Wanamie, Pennsylvania.
During the fire at the No. 15 mine of the Pursglove Mining Company, an act of heroism cost the life of Guy Quinn, 38-year-old night-foreman, who escaped after the fire but returned to open two ventilating doors in an effort to save his trapped comrades. He had managed to open one door but was overcome while working on the other.
Two of the victims were buried in an initial collapse, which occurred while they were preparing to shoot down a section of the rock suspected of being weak. Six others were buried in a second cave-in, which occurred while they were attempting to dig out the bodies of the first two men.
Three employees of the disposal plant were killed by the inhalation of toxic fumes believed to be hydrogen sulfide or an oxygen deficiency. Charles R. Miller, Water Treating Operator, was the initial victim. Delmar W. Oldaker and Gerard Colwell were overcome during rescue attempts.
About 12:40 a.m., August 29th, or 2½ hours after the first explosion, a second explosion occurred in the same area, at which time there were 18 members of a rescue party in the affected section. Two men of the rescue party were killed and 16 were injured. Eight of the sixteen injured died after being removed to the hospital. Total number of deaths from the second explosion was 10.
Firefighting crews were formed after all miners were withdrawn from the Katherine No. 4 mine to fight a fire discovered there at 11:00 p.m. A subsequent explosion of methane and coal dust occurred, killing everyone in the
mine fighting the fire at the time. Windows were shattered in homes 2 miles away and buildings were rocked.
One of those suffocated in the Nethken Mine was a miner, Robert Jackson from Kitzmiller, Maryland, age 25, who had gone down the shaft to warn the other 4 miners of the danger and lead them out. He had been married less than 6 months.
The fire was first detected by a pumpman who encountered smoke while being hoisted in the Lark Shaft from the 2500 level to the 1200 level. He returned by cage to the 2500 level to notify the hoistman by telephone and died some time later after closing the water doors when a power outage occurred. The other four men died while attempting to rescue him.
William Adams, 33, of Barnesville, Ohio, was outside when a fire broke out deep inside the Morgan Mine near St. Clairsville, Ohio. He ran into the mine and sounded the alarm. Counting only 12 men running out, he then went inside again in search of Keith Spicer, 22, of Dillonvale, Ohio, a miner for only two months, and Tony Territti, 43, of Wheeling. None of the three men surfaced from the mine.
After cutting into a void, resulting in an inundation of "blackdamp" in the Doverspike Bros. Dora No. 2 mine, two miners were instantly overcome. The other 5 crew members managed to escape, however, three of them returned to help their fallen co-workers and were also overcome. Those immediately affected were Sam Gaul and Ronald Moore. Those attempting rescue included John Kramer, Robert White, and Hilton Neiswonger.
Lester E. Benbow, age 41, schoolteacher, Foresthill Elementary School, was asphyxiated in the Hazard Gold Mine in the early morning of June 20, 1970, when he attempted to rescue Clifford J. Cox, who was overcome in an oxygen deficient atmosphere. He had no mining experience. Cox was later transported to the hospital, and reportedly made a complete recovery.
Two brothers, William and Philip Long, entered an area of the mine and were subsequently overcome by Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) gas. An additional 5 employees made several attempts to reach the Long brothers and bring them to fresh air. After finally reaching the downed brothers and loading them onto a locomotive to bring them out, they too were overcome and killed by the toxic gas.
About 3:30 p.m., June 25, 1975, W. E. (Willie) Dodderer, millwright, age 27, was asphyxiated when he and Eric R. Willis, millwright, entered a caisson in an attempt to rescue Brent Black, millwright, age 35, who had succumbed earlier in an oxygen deficient atmosphere.
On March 11, 1976, at the time of the second explosion,
13 men were underground near the entrance of 2 Southeast Main; 11 died as the result of the explosion and 2 repairmen
working a short distance outby escaped without injury. Among the 11 killed on March 11 were 3 Federal Mine
Inspectors: Kenneth Kiser, age 45; Richard Sammons, age 55; and Grover Tussey, age 45. This disaster gave birth to the
Health and Safety Act of 1977, including new rules for mine rescue teams, stations, and training.
Two of the four miners who were advancing the drainway when the inundation occurred successfully retreated to the surface (one dragged the other). However, the other two miners perished. The blackdamp also killed three other men who went underground without protective equipment or adequate gas testing equipment to search for the missing men. Similarly unequipped during rescue attempts, two other men were also overcome by blackdamp, but were successfully assisted to the surface. The
deceased included the Mine Superintendent, the MSHA Sub-District Manager and a Service Manager from National Mine Service. Posthumously, Willis D. Ison was bestowed a Valor Award for bravery.
In the process of testing a newly installed rescue capsule in the 335 foot shaft of Consolidation Coal Company’s Mathies Mine in Peters Township, Washington County, PA, company safety inspector, John Marn, plunged 180 feet to his death after the capsule’s coupling device broke. The Washington County Coroner, Farrell Jackson, ruled that Edward Nogal, federal mine inspector, was partially responsible for Marn’s death.
The entire section crew, except for two roof bolters, who remained unaccounted for, boarded a scoop to ride to the surface via the man trip route. Soon after, however, the section foreman left the fleeing scoop to search for the two missing roof bolters. Later that afternoon, the bodies of the foreman and the two roof bolters - all victims of asphyxiation - were recovered.
After the explosion, Rocke Wilson and Ardy Johnson descended to search for two workman. Shortly thereafter, both men were suddenly overcome by carbon monoxide. Two hours later, the general partner and mine manager resumed the search. During this effort, Johnson was found 75 feet from the portal and Wilson was found 100 feet from the portal. Subsequent CPR attempts revived Wilson, but Johnson never regained consciousness.
At about 2:40 a.m., as two miners were barring down some loose ground near timbers, a cave-in suddenly occurred without warning. One of the miners was trapped in the collapse. After unsuccessfully attempting to free the trapped miner, the other miner summoned three miners who were working in an adjacent area. Their rescue attempts went awry when one of the rescuers removed a steel bar near the trapped miner, triggering a second cave-in. This collapse fatally injured another miner. Shortly thereafter, a third cave-in occurred. This collapse killed the trapped miner as well as a fourth individual.
C O A L
R & R Coal Company Mine No. 3 Carbon Monoxide Suffocation Woodbine, Kentucky
Loading and hauling coal after a shot throughout the afternoon, a miner was overcome by CO when his scoop became stuck in the face area. Two others attempting to save the fallen miner were also overcome.
C O A L
M.S. & W. Coal Company 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.
After communicating with the section foreman about the events of the initial blast in 4 Section, 3 other miners entered the 4 Section to rescue the remaining injured miner. Additional miners from other sections were notified and traveled toward 4 Section to lend assistance. Five of these miners entered the Section and another 4 reached the mouth of the 4 Section. The second explosion resulted in 12 fatalities and widespread destruction.
Team trainer, Theodore Milligan and team member, Dale Spring were fatally injured when they collapsed from excessive heat while evaluating the conditions in an inactive gold mine. The pair's failure to have coolant cartridges installed in their breathing apparatus was identified as a principle contributing factor.
On August 16, 2007, three rescue workers were killed and six others were injured when a seismic jolt caused a mine accident during an effort to reach six men who have been trapped at the Crandall Canyon Mine since August 6. The six men initially killed were Kerry Allred, Luis Hernandez, Carlos Payan, Don Erikson, Manuel Sanchez, and
Brandon Phillips. The three killed during the attempted rescue were Federal Mine Inspector, Gary Jensen,
Brandon Kimber and Dale Black.
A miner, Nicholas Cappanno, did not return from an area of the mine where an explosive had been previously detonated. The shift foreman, Rick Williams, went in to search for him. Eventually they were both found by other miners working in the area, and those miners immediately evacuated the mine. Mine rescue teams entered the mine and found the two others. During the recovery operation, they detected fatal levels of carbon monoxide. The teams brought the victims to the surface. Twenty miners were taken to the hospital, and three were kept overnight. All 20 were subsequently released.
93 Events Identified
C O A L
Barnsley Oaks Colliery Explosions Barnsley, Yorkshire, England
Several explosions at the Barnsley Oaks Colliery, Barnsley, Yorkshire, England on December 12, 1866 led to the deaths of 361 people, 27 of whom were rescuers who were in the mine after the first explosion.
C O A L
Cadeby Colliery Explosion Colinsbrough, England
Of the killed, 39 were men who went into the pits to rescue those entombed. Among these were government inspectors, including William Henry Pickering, chief inspector of mines, Yorkshire and Northmidland district.
C O A L
Duchy Colliery Training Exercise Pontyrhyl, South Wales, United Kingdom
Two rescuers died during a training exercise at the Duchy Colliery. There were 6 men in the Duchy Rescue team. (Captain) James Morgan; John Evans; Bert Churchill; David John Williams; Thomas Williams; and William James Beer.
John Evans had got into a pocket of ‘foul air’ and had been overcome. Mr. Edward Thorne, the Instructor, had gone immediately to Evans’ aid and in doing so had got into difficulties himself. Despite several desperate attempts by the others to rescue them, both men died.
At the inquest on the 2nd of April, it was determined that it was the ‘Draeger’ breathing apparatus which was used by both of the deceased men that was responsible for their deaths. See more.
C O A L
Bilsthorpe Colliery Explosions Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England
There were two explosions at the colliery, one shortly after 6 p.m. which injured eighteen people, six of whom died from their injuries and this was followed three hours later by a second which injured twenty two, three of whom later died. Those who died in the second explosion were - Arthur Woodcock, ripper, who died July 27th; John William Jones, a permanent rescue man who died July 27th; and William Preater, a permanent rescue man who died from burns on August 3rd.
C O A L
Gresford Colliery Explosion Gresford, Wales
Disaster struck again on Saturday (9/22) morning. The Llay Main No. 1 Rescue team were sent into the airway. The fumes killed off their canary before they had gone five metres. The team continued in, found their way blocked and on the way back three rescuers - John Lewis, Bill Hughes and Dan Hughes - were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning. Perhaps their equipment had been damaged in the chaotic scenes at the surface.
The Easington Colliery explosion death toll rose when two rescue men were killed, taking the number to 83. They were Henry Burdess, 43, a Deputy, from Brancepeth Colliery, and John Wallace, 26, Back Overman. These men died three days apart during the rescue effort.
Twelve miners, including 3 rescuers were confirmed dead after a falling roof triggered a gas explosion in a central Chinese coal mine operated by Xingyu Coal Mining Co Ltd. The explosion occurred when 51 workers were underground at the mine in the city of Dengfeng in Henan province.
Two miners went to the shaft without permission at 9:00 a.m. Sunday and were poisoned by the gas. On learning of the accident, the deputy head of the coal mine rushed to the shaft to help the two miners, but was also poisoned. All the three miners were found dead later.
Three rescuers were killed in a cave-in of a section of a colliery shaft Monday morning, when they were searching for miners trapped in a mine blast in Qitaihe City, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
The deaths occurred at a disused air shaft at a lead and zinc ore mine when two miners were overcome by a lack of oxygen and rescuers and family members went in to try and help. One miner died, as did five rescuers and three family members who tried to come to the aid of the miners but were themselves overcome.
An initial investigation showed the accident occurred when two people allegedly sneaked into a non-operating gold pit to dig ores but became suffocated, while seven other folks who allegedly went down the pit to save the first two people also succumbed to suffocation.
On 4/27 three inspectors failed to return to the surface after entering the abandon
underground pit 9 a.m. that morning to conduct routine inspections. Eleven workers were then
sent to look for them. Of the 14 people who entered the mine, five escaped unharmed and one was later rescued.
Three rescuers died of heat stroke in fighting a coal mine fire in
East China's Shandong province, according to the rescue headquarters of Zaozhuang Fangbei Coal Mine. The fire first broke out on July 7th.
Five people, including one rescuer were killed after a fire broke out at the Xinglong Mining Company's gold mine pit in northwest China's Shaanxi province. The rescuer was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning during the rescue operation.
Initially, four workers were trapped and suffocated in a manganese mine under construction while conducting examination work. Four others tried to rescue them but were also overcome. All eight were pulled out of the mine with one survivor.
Three rescuers died during the recovery of nine miners killed in a fire at an underground limestone mine operated by the Jiuquan Iron and Steel Group.
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Unnamed Coal Mine Asphyxiation Eastern Yugoslavia
A rescue worker died of suffocation while searching for survivors of a coal mine explosion in eastern Yugoslavia. The total number killed in this disaster is unknown.
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Altos Hornos Mining Company Shaft No. 2 Explosion Barroteran, Mexico
One rescue worker was overcome by gas following an explosion at the Altos Hornos Mining Company’s Shaft No. 2 near Barroteran, Mexico. There was some confusion in the number of miners in the mine that died at the time of the explosion, however, the company’s General Manager, Juan Heitz, said the figure was between 145 and 168.
Five rescuers and a miner were killed on February 27 when an explosion struck the Severnaya coal mine near the far northern city of Vorkutsk, Russia. They were searching for 26 miners who had been missing since another explosion earlier in the week. Four miners were killed and nine injured in an explosion and fire at the mine on February 25. The rescue was called off on 2/28 declaring the total loss of life at 36.
19 of the dead were rescuers who went into the sprawling mine after the initial blast.
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Unnamed Mine Explosion Ukraine
An electrical outage cut the ventilation to a mine, killing one rescue worker and leaving another unconscious
as they helped recover the bodies of three miners killed in the blast. The ventilator that was cooling the
tunnel stopped and the temperature increase, killing the rescuer.
The search for about 100 workers believed to have died inside a collapsed gold mine in Sudan's Darfur region ended
on May 4th. Included in that number were nine rescuers who were victims of another collapse on May 5th.
Two mining rescuers died in the CSM coal mine near Karvina, probably of intoxication while taking samples of air in the underground premises. The rescuers were taking samples of air to find out whether it contains methane, carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide. Five years ago, a fatal accident similar to the latest one occurred in the nearby Darkov mine, also claiming two mining rescuers' lives.
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) appears to have killed four people in a decommissioned mine, taking out first a mining contractor, then the worker who went looking for him and two paramedics who tried to save them both. Source document.
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MacGregor Mine Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Canada
Joseph Campbell, one of the expert miners who helped to rescue Dr. D. E. Robertson and Alfred Scadding
was killed. Campbell, trapped in a narrow incline of the shaft at MacGregor Mine, was struck and run over by
miniature train carrying a full load of coal.
The first two victims died after choking due to Carbon Monoxide and their bodies were retrieved from the mine. But more tragedy befell them when other miners on a rescue mission succumbed after running out of breath in the incident. As the rescuers were trying to retrieve the bodies, two others collapsed, and died on the spot.
At a gold mine near Johannesburg, a supervisor and 7 rescuers died of heat stroke while searching for a repairman in an entry used to transfer heat from the underground works. The missing miner had been sent there on a repair operation.
Two rescue workers were killed while trying to retrieve the body of a miner in Harmony Gold's Evander mine in Mpumalanga, the company said on Tuesday. A third member of the external rescue team made it back to the surface unhurt. The accident happened on Monday.