united states mine rescue association Mine Disasters in the United States
Herron Mine Explosion
October 30, 1952
No. Killed – 5
Blast kills Uranium Prospectors
The News Palladium
October 31, 1952
Herron, Mich., Oct. 31 -- (AP) -- Five men prospecting for uranium were killed last night when an underground explosion ripped through the 180-foot deep shaft of an abandoned gold mine near here.
State police identified the victims as John Wileczynski, (no age available) of Chicago; Pat Chavalier, 32, of Herron; and three brothers: Zeke, 47, Henry, 37, and Bernard Donke, 44, all of Herron. A sixth man, John Pastuszka, miraculously escaped injury in the blast which occurred at 11:15 p.m. (EST).
Police said the bodies of Chavalier and Zeke Donke were still entombed at the bottom of the water filled shaft.
Searchers recovered the bodies of the other victims which had been hurled some 300-feet from the shaft entrance by the force of the blast. The mine is located 10 miles west of Alpena.
Pastuszka told police Chavalier and Zeke Donke had gone down into the shaft to check on the removal of water pumps used to drain the abandoned mine. He said he and the others were grouped around the shaft entrance when the explosion occurred. Pastuszka said a tool shed between him and the shaft opening probably saved his life. State police said Pastuszka did not know the cause of the explosion.