Cherry, IL Coal Mine Disaster, Nov 1909
Priest Goes Down.
Rescuers were sent down into the mine at once but came up to get oxygen helmets, saying they could hear men calling to them, but could not stand the gases or the stench of the bodies of burned mules in the second level. With the rescuers on the return trip went Father Henry of Mendola, a Catholic priest. He had donned the clothes of a miner and went down to give absolution to all of those Catholics who might be dying.
The work of reaching these men was taken in charge by D. E. POWELL, superintendent of the Braceville mine and B. C. MAXWELL, chief engineer of the St. Paul Mine company. For six hours without relief of any sort MAXWELL stood in one spot and directed the efforts of the rescuers, despite the black damp which threatened all of the rescuers.
The rescuers found two parties of entombed men still living. All were on the second level in the west tunnel and near the spot where the twenty-one men had been taken out earlier. The rescuers were attracted by rappings on the walls on the tunnels and following them, they came upon a barricade. Their signals were answered immediately and they started to dig.