Successful Mine Rescues in July
1914 — Banovich Silver Mine, near Tonopah, Nevada – Two men overcome by powder smoke at the bottom of a 95-foot shaft were brought out by two Bureau of Mines men from car 5. The rescuers descended the shaft, tied ropes under the armpits of the unconscious miners, and had them hoisted to the surface, where oxygen and artificial respiration were used for two hours. One miner fully recovered, but no sign of life appeared in the other miner.
1916 — On July 25, 1916, Garrett Morgan made national news for using his gas mask to rescue 32 men trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel 250 feet beneath Lake Erie. Morgan and a team of volunteers donned the new “gas masks” and went to the rescue.
After the rescue, Morgan’s company received requests from fire departments around the country who wished to purchase the new masks. The Morgan gas mask was later refined for use by U.S. Army during World War I.
In 1914, Garrett Morgan was awarded a patent for a Safety Hood and Smoke Protector. Two years later, a refined model of his early gas mask won a gold medal at the International Exposition of Sanitation and Safety, and another gold medal from the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
1933 — Twelve miners were rescued after having been trapped for three hours by a fall of coal in the Locust Gap mine operated by the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company at Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania.
1937 — Four men, badly burned but still alive, along with about 20 others were rescued after an undisclosed period following an explosion at the Baker Coal Mine, 5 miles northeast of Sullivan, Indiana. The mine was owned by the Glendora Coal Company.
1938 — Praco No. 7 Rock Fall Disaster – A roof fall occurred in this mine, trapping nine men, three of whom were rescued alive, severely shocked, with minor injuries. One rescued alive, died, probably from shock, en route to the surface, and the remaining five bodies were dead when recovered.
1938 — Five miners, buried alive for more than 48 hours following a cave-in at the Veta silver mine at Duncan, Arizona were brought safely to the surface by rescue crews. The entombed men were Alfred Gillenwater, G. C. Robinson, D. H. Grissom, E. D. Wright, and Albert Carlson.
1963 — On July 12, 1963, in a miracle survival that confounded experts, three teenage boys were found alive after spending 2 days in an abandoned, gas-ridden mine. The youngsters were found nearly a half-mile from the mouth of No. 2 shaft of Castle Shannon Coal Company which had not been used for more than 25 years. Their rescuers were U. S. Bureau of Mines Inspectors Everett Turner, James Hutchens and Jennings Breedon. The boys, Danny O’Kain, Billy Burke and Bobby Abbott were taken to St. Clair Hospital where they were treated for exposure and dehydration. See vintage video.
2002 — Following an inundation of water from an adjacent abandoned mine, nine miners were rescued after being trapped more than 3 days in the Quecreek Mine in Friedens, Pennsylvania.
Rescuer Deaths in July
1902 — Rolling Mill Mine Explosion, Johnstown, Pennsylvania — Mine foreman, Harry Rodgers; assistant mine foreman, William Blanchard; and fire bosses, John Whitney and John Thomas were overcome by the afterdamp while attempting to rescue other miners.
1902 — Daly West and Ontario Silver Mines Explosives Ignition, Park City, Utah — 34 miners were killed following a magazine explosion in the Daly West and Ontario Silver Mines in Park City, Utah. The magazine, located in the Daly West mine, exploded after miner, John Burgy, entered carrying a lit candle. Three of the deceased were rescuers: John McLaughlin; James Smith; and Jack Ballon, all of whom died of asphyxiation while rendering aid and searching for survivors. McLaughlin died after making his second trip into the mine. Several of the dead were in the adjacent Ontario mine. With the exception of Mr. Burgy, all the miners died from asphyxiation.
1920 — Black Diamond No. 2, Mine Rescue Training Fatalities, Black Diamond, Washington — On July 10, 1920, Henry DeWinter, Hugh Hughes, and James Hudson lost their lives while wearing oxygen breathing apparatus in an abandoned slope of the Black Diamond No. 2 mine of the Pacific Coast Coal Company, Black Diamond, Washington.
1950 — Lark Section – U. S. and Lark Mine Fire, Lark, Utah — The fire was first detected by a pumpman who encountered smoke while being hoisted in the Lark Shaft from the 2500 level to the 1200 level. He returned by cage to the 2500 level to notify the hoistman by telephone and died some time later after closing the water doors when a power outage occurred. The other four men died while attempting to rescue him.
Note: In all, 68 successful mine rescues, and 84 incidents of rescuer deaths have been located. If others are known, please contact Rob at [email protected] and I’ll research them further.
Thanks for the share, RM!