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Mine Disasters in
the United States
81 Instantly Killed in Mine Explosion
The New York Times, New York
March 27, 1912
Welch, West Va., March 26 -- Eighty-one men were killed today by a gas explosion in the Jed Coal and Coke Company mine at Jed, West Va., six miles from here. Only eleven men escaped alive, and one of those died within an hour after being brought to the surface.
Tonight thirty-three bodies had been located. Exploring parties will have covered all of the mine by 3 o'clock Wednesday morning, and expect to have all the bodies out by noon.
When the explosion took place probably only the eleven men working at the foot of the shaft had a chance for their lives. They made their way up the cages which were not damaged. Though some of the blades of the fans were shattered, they continued to operate with the result that enough air was present to admit searching parties immediately.
Less than half an hour after the news of the explosion had been communicated to this place relief measures were started. Oxygen helmets and other appliances were rushed from the plant of the United States Coal and Coke Company, a United States Steel Corporation mine nearby, a Government rescue car en route to Huntington, W. Va., was turned back on telegraphic orders from Washington and another car was started from Pittsburgh. The first car reached here shortly after noon.
State mine inspectors promptly organized rescue parties and began the exploration of levels. As the gases were cleared out and they began search of the lower levels, they came upon the bodies of the miners. It is believed they were all killed instantly.
Other mines sent experienced foremen to lead hundreds of volunteer rescuers who flocked to the scene as the news spread. The usual scenes of suffering which attend mine disasters were lacking here today. The families of the miners remained within their homes, overcome with grief.
The mine was inspected last Friday and pronounced safe. Preliminary investigations today have not divulged the cause of the explosion. Some local mine men are inclined to regard it as a physical phenomenon. Barometers in this vicinity have been showing unusually low readings for the last week without the usual atmospheric changes.
The families of the dead men are in sore straits. Work has been very slack at the mine. Outside aid will be asked.
Listing of the killed miners:
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