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Mine Disasters in
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Weyanoke Coal and Coke Company
Arista Mine Explosion

Arista, West Virginia
March 2, 1923
No. Killed - 10



From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Six Workers Die in Coal Mine Explosion
Nevada State Journal, Reno, Nevada
March 3, 1923

Bluefield, W. Va., March 2. -- The bodies of six miners had been recovered late tonight from the mine of the Weynneke Coal and Coke Company at Arista, Mercer County, which early today was shaken by a heavy explosion.  Hope for rescuing alive five other miners, of the 38 entombed by the blast, was abandoned when rescue workers said they were unable to reach the section of the mine where the men were at work when the explosion occurred.  Afterdamp, which flooded the mine following the explosion, probably would prove fatal to the five still entombed, mine officials said.

Seventy-five men were at work in the mine when its channels were rocked by the blast, 3200 feet from the main openings.  However, many of them were in other sections and were not caught by the crumbling of the walls.  Of the 38 entombed, 27 only slightly injured were rescued.

The force of the explosion tore through to the surface, scattering timbers and huge boulders for a distance of several hundred feet.  Tongues of flame shot through these openings.

An overcharge of dynamite, used in blasting, probably was the cause of the disaster, W. A. Craven, superintendent of the mine, said tonight.

Arista, the scene of the explosion, is a small mining town in Mercer County, in the extreme southern section of West Virginia, and is practically isolated by the surrounding mountainous country.


Ten Die in New Virginia Mine Horror
The Times Hammond, Indiana
March 3, 1923

Bluefield, W. Va., March 3. -- Ten men dead is the toll of the explosion in the mine of the Weyaneke Coal and Coke Company at Arista near here.  Four more bodies were recovered this morning and six were taken out last night.

Lloyd Liscomb, a miner, was taken out this morning more dead than alive.  He was given first aid treatment, but was in such a condition he could not give any details of the disaster.

With the recovery of the ten dead and one living miners all the employees of the mine were accounted for today.

Liscomb was entombed behind a fall of slate, rock and coal for fifteen hours.

The dead:
  • James McCleod
  • James Gordon
  • Frank Mitchell
  • George Barnett
  • M. C. Pace
  • Tom Nelson
  • Andy Semeck
  • Henry Crotty
  • Ernest Divens
  • W. P. Johnson
Thirty-eight miners were trapped in the mine when the explosion occurred but twenty-seven were at distant points in the workings and escaped the full effects of the blast and saved their lives.  They hurriedly made their way to an exit before gas and black damp over took them.  Five bodies were in one heap, where the miners apparently had gathered together to await their end after finding escape cut off.



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