Charleston, West Va. - With a detonation heard for miles around, dust in the Stuart Mine, near Fayetteville, exploded this afternoon, bringing death to the eighty or more men who were at work more than 500 feet below the surface.
There is no chance that any of the men will be taken out alive for it is thought that the terrific force of the explosion snuffed out their lives instantly. It will not be possible for the rescuers to reach the bottom of the shaft for forty-eight hours.
Most of the men were Americans and many of them were married and had large families. There were a dozen colored men and fifteen or more foreigners.
The rescue work was begun as soon as the wrecked parts of the shaft house could be repaired. About two hours after the explosion three men were lowered into the shaft.
Before descending sixty feet two of the men were overcome with foul air and the third was barely able to give the signal to his comrades at the top. All further attempts were abandoned for the time.
Air was supplied to the mine by several large fans, but the mechanism was damaged and the fans were idle for about two hours. The fans were then started again, and if the men were not all dead by the force of the explosion it may be that they will have air enough to survive until the rescuers reach them.
The Stuart Mine is owned by the White Oak Fuel Company, a part of the New River Fuel Company, of which Samuel Dixon is President and J. W. Smiley, Secretary and Treasurer.