Two min­ers trapped as bump hits Num­ber 2 mine

Look­ing back to March 3, 1949

The Amherst News - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - Her­itage Cor­ner Pat Crowe Pat Crowe is a mem­ber of the Springhill Her­itage Group. To learn more or read past ar­ti­cle of the Her­itage Cor­ner, visit www.springhill­her­

An un­ex­pected “bump” in a head of the 11,000 in No. 2 mine, claimed the life of Thomas Gabriel, a miner, about 5 o’clock Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. His buddy, Clyde “Jumbo” Corkum es­caped with some cuts and is a pa­tient in All Saints Hos­pi­tal suf­fer­ing from shock. Dan Dykens, who reg­u­larly worked with Mr. Gabriel, was ill yes­ter­day af­ter­noon and did not re­port for work. His place was taken by Clyde Corkum.

Came Sud­denly

With­out warn­ing, the ‘bump” came ac­cord­ing to men work­ing on the wall in that sec­tion. In the head where Gabriel and Corkum were work­ing the bump was so se­vere that the floor rose and closed off the pas­sage with the ex­cep­tion of a nar­row two-foot pas­sage along the wall. The head had been driven some 290 feet to­ward the up­per level and the spot where the floor rose was about 200 feet up the head. No state­ment was avail­able from Corkum as the Record went to press. Thomas Gabriel, who died as a re­sult of the bump, suf­fered se­vere fa­cial and other in­juries. Forty years of age he leaves to mourn a wife and 11 chil­dren. Corkum, who is 22 years of age, is mar­ried and has two chil­dren.

Gas Pre­vents Res­cue

As the Bump spent it­self and the gas and dust rolled out of the head Jim Gillis, bot­tomer, Merle McKay and Lloyd Sil­vea made a de­ter­mined ef­fort to res­cue the trapped work­men but were driven back by the gas and over­pow­er­ing dust. Help from the wall ar­rived quickly and an ur­gent called was sent to the sur­face for the res­cue crew who work un­der su­per­in­ten­dent Frank Stevens.

A res­cue crew con­sist­ing of Cap­tain Lloyd Mur­ray, Alex Spence, Sim McDon­ald and Vic­tor Hunter were equipped and rushed into the mine. A call went out for a doc­tor and Dr. H.L. Simp­son re­sponded. Along with Shirley Grant, RN, who is in charge of the Com­pany Hos­pi­tal, he en­tered the mine and took charge of the ef­fort to re­vive Tom Gabriel. Af­ter two hours and 15 min­utes ar­ti­fi­cial res­pi­ra­tion, Tom Gabriel was pro­nounced dead. In the mean­time, Corkum had been ex­am­ined and rushed to the sur­face. From there he was taken in the new Com­pany am­bu­lance to All Saints Hos­pi­tal suf­fer­ing from shock. He was ac­com­pa­nied by nurse McDon­ald.

When Gillis and Smith were driven back by gas and dust as they at­tempted to res­cue the trapped men they were joined by Deputy Over­men Ron Beaton and An­gus McKay, and along with Muir McKay took the air hose from the long wall and coura­geously worked their way into the head. Man­ager Camp­bell, who ar­rived quickly on the scene, spoke highly of the lead­er­ship shown by these men. The Bump had al­most sealed off the head and only a nar­row space was left for the res­cue crew to reach the in­jured men who were re­moved to the level with the great­est dif­fi­culty.

Ev­ery­thing Pos­si­ble Done

“Ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble was done for both men” said man­ager Wil­liam Camp­bell, as he re­ported to Su­per­in­ten­dent E.B. Paul on his re­turn from the mine. When res­cued, Tom Gabriel did not show any signs of life, but de­spite this the res­cue crew, us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial res­pi­ra­tion worked over him for two hours and 15 min­utes be­fore Dr. H.L. Simp­son pro­nounced him dead.

Bump Un­ex­pected

The Bump in the 11,000 came as a sur­prise to us, said Supt. Paul, in an in­ter­view with the Record, as he ex­pressed his re­grets over the ac­ci­dent. Only Mon­day, said the su­per­in­ten­dent, we closed the 7100 wall in No. 4 be­cause of bumps and we are hold­ing it idle un­til the 6700 comes in line with 7100 as we feel this will tend to lessen the bumps. This move has thrown some 70 men out of work tem­po­rar­ily, al­though we are hope­ful that a full crew will be back on the job in a few days if all goes well.

Mine Knocked Off

As is cus­tom­ary in the case of a fa­tal ac­ci­dent the mine knocked off im­me­di­ately and the work­men were taken to the sur­face as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Ex­am­ine Head

The No. 2 Pit Com­mit­tee, con­sist­ing of Ray Porter and Mille Cvitkovich, went into the mine shortly af­ter the bump to ex­am­ine the scene of the ac­ci­dents.

New Am­bu­lance in Use

The Com­pany’s new am­bu­lance came into use in re­mov­ing Clyde Corkum to the hos­pi­tal. The am­bu­lance was re­cently pur­chased by the Com­pany re­plac­ing the for­mer am­bu­lance, which had been pur­chased by the Union and oper­ated by the Com­pany. The new ma­chine is a Chevro­let Style­mas­ter and of­fers ev­ery com­fort to in­jured work­men. It is oper­ated by the Com­pany Po­lice. Com­ment­ing on the op­er­a­tion of the ve­hi­cle, Wil­liam Mont, who is in charge of the Com­pany Po­lice Depart­ment, told the Record, that red lights scat­tered around the plant, and oper­ated by the lamp cabin, warn men that their ser­vices are re­quired.

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