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Mine Disasters in
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Delaware and Hudson Company
Conyngham Colliery Hoisting Accident

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
April 26, 1905
No. Killed - 10



See also:   Conyngham Colliery Explosion, Nov. 26, 1886
Conyngham Colliery Explosion, May 25, 1928

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Ten Miners Killed
Plunged to Death Down Shaft by Breaking of Cage Rope

Tyrone Daily Herald, Pennsylvania
April 27, 1905

Wilkes-Barre, Pa., April 27 -- Ten miners were instantly crushed to death at the Conyngham mine of the Delaware and Hudson Company, located in the northern part of this city.  The men were being lowered into the mine, and when 350 feet from the surface the rope broke and the cage fell to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of 400 feet.  A rescuing party was at once organized, and they found the bodies of the men in the sump at the bottom of the shaft, beneath a mass of debris.  They were terribly mangled.  Most of the victims lived in the vicinity of the mine, and when the rescuers brought the crushed forms to the surface a large crowd was in waiting.  The grief of the relatives of the dead was heartrending.

Superintendent Foote says he is at a loss to account for the accident.  An examination of the rope was made before the first cage of human freight was lowered into the mine, and it was found to be all right.

William Cunningham, who is said to be one of the most reliable men in the employ of the company, was the engineer in charge of the hoisting carriage.  He says everything went well until the fatal trip.  He got the signal to lower and stop at the Hillman vein, which is 350 feet from the surface.  When the Hillman vein was reached he slowed up.  Without any warning the rope snapped and the carriage containing the 10 men dropped like a shot to the bottom.  The carriage had all the safety appliances, and its speed should have been checked before it reached the bottom, but as far as can be learned the "catcher" did not work.  Eight of the dead were Poles and two others English-speaking miners.

The English-speaking miners killed were:
  • Charles Rochel, married, with a family
  • Frank Barney, married, with a family
The other victims were:
  • August Zayarcy
  • John Jovetski
  • Henry McGraw
  • Anthony Ziblick
  • Lawrence Warnick
  • Jonas Matondick
  • Michael Zayntis
  • John Chase
All the foreigners except one were married and leave large families.

The coroner has begun an investigation as to the cause of the accident.

This is the third accident of a similar nature that has occurred in the Wyoming region within six months.  In each case the rope attached to the carriage broke and the men on it were dashed to the bottom of the shaft and instantly killed.  The first disaster occurred at the Auchincloss mine, in which 10 miners lost their lives.  Six weeks ago a cage at the Clear Spring colliery fell and seven men were killed, and the last 10 victims makes the total number killed by ropes breaking and carriages falling 27.



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