On April 7, 1911, Joseph E. Evans, foreman miner of Bureau of Mines rescue car No.1, lost his life while wearing a Draeger self-contained oxygen breathing apparatus. Evans' death occurred during an exploration trip in the Pancoast colliery of the Price-Pancoast Coal Company, Throop, Pennsylvania, after a mine fire in which 72 other persons were killed.
Evans and his crew of three men, consisting of one Bureau of Mines employee and two others, an ex-employee of the Bureau of Mines and one other person, had proceeded about 500 feet ahead of fresh air when Evans experienced some difficulty with his apparatus. After leaving one of the men with Evans and advising them to return to fresh air, the other two men proceeded on the exploration trip, returning to the fresh-air base by a different route.
Following a brief rest, Evans and his companion proceeded about 80 feet toward the fresh-air base when Evans fell. His companion first examined the apparatus to see that it was functioning properly, and then went to look for the other two members of the party. Failing to find them, he proceeded to the fresh-air base and reported that Evans was down.
Shortly thereafter, the two other men of the, party reached the fresh-air base and upon learning that Evans collapsed went to where he had fallen.
After adjusting Evan's apparatus, they proceeded to the fresh-air base to obtain additional help. Later they returned with help and brought him to the fresh-air base on a stretcher. The application of artificial respiration and the use of a pulmotor failed to revive him.
So far as could be determined, no defect existed in the functioning of the apparatus.