Centralia, IL Coal Mine Disaster, Mar 1947

Centralia Coal Mine Disaster

76 MEN STILL TRAPPED IN MINE.

BODIES OF 18 MORE CENTRALIA MINERS CARRIED OUT TODAY.

TOTAL DEATH TOLL OF TUESDAY'S BLAST LIKELY TO REACH 111, BELIEF.

(By The Associated Press)
One hundred eleven soft coal miners feared lost in Tuesday's Centralia mine explosion; of 142 men in the mine at time, 76 remained trapped, 35 are known dead and 31 rescued alive; disaster may prove coal industry's worst in 19 years.
Rescue crews working along three and one-half mile tunnel 540 feet underground fail to find a single living miner since a few hours after blast. State mine inspector says week may be needed to recover all victims' bodies.
Kinfolk of missing diggers keep sad virgil at improvised morgue set up in nearby bus garage.
U.S. senate orders inquiry after Senator BROOKS (R-Ill.) declares safety codes violated under federal administration of nation's mine operations; Centralia Coal Company officials withhold reply comment.
AFL United Mine Workers local officer says union asked Illinois governor year ago to see that safety laws are enforced "before we have a dust explosion": Governor GREEN says investigating commitee reported complaint "sounds a good deal worse than it really is."
Circuit court of Washington county, Illinois, promises grand jury investigation of whether criminal negligence was involved.
State inspectors say examination of mine a week ago showed various unsafe conditions, company officer says, "We have been working on recommendations but all cannot be accomplished within few days."

Centralia, Ill., March 27. -- (AP) -- Fears that the death toll of Tuesday's mine explosion ultimately would reach 111 were intensified today as the bodies of 18 more miners were brought up the shaft of the Centralia Coal company's No. 5 mine.
The recovery of these victims brought to 35 the number of known dead and left 76 still trapped below. A rescue squad leader gave those pinned underground "no chance at all."
A heavy snow fell over the grim setting as rescue squads, after working through the early morning hours, brought the second group of dead miners from 540 feet below the ground. There were only a few persons at the pit as the bodies were placed in ambulances and taken to a temporary morgue in a nearby bus garage. Last night 16 bodies were removed to the garage. Earlier one miner removed from the mine on Tuesday, died.
Bodies Twisted Bruised.
An unidentified rescue worker said the bodies of the 18 brought from the pit today were twisted and bruised and clothing on some were burned, indicating they had been nearer to the explosion than the 16 miners who were found last night.
As the death toll mounted, with a rescue leader predicting it would reach 111 company officials said rescue attempts would be pushed, "we're not going to give up."
The toll of 111 dead predicted by WILLIAM J. ROWEKANIP, rescue leader and recording secretary of the Centralia local of the AFL United Mine Workers whose members worked the mine, would rank the disaster as the greatest in the nation's coal fields since 195 lost their lives in 1928 at Mather, Pa.
Company Revises Totals.
The company presented a revised total of the number of miners who had been in the mine at the time of the blast. Vice President W. P. YOUNG said 142 men had been in the mine and 31 had been removed alive. Earlier he said 151 men had been below and 30 had been rescued alive.
ROWEKAMP'S views were echoed by other rescue workers who said that not a single victim has been taken alive from the mine since Tuesday night several hours after the explosion.

Continued

Comments

name/book

HELLO MY NAME IS ROBERT J. BALLANTINI JR IN THE LIST OF THE MEN THAT DIED IN THE CENTRALIA MINE THERES A
NAME MISSING PEITRO "PETE" BALLANTINI

I AM ALSO WRITING A BOOK I VE DONE ALOT OF RESEARCH AND READ YOUR STORIES AND ID LIKE TO BE ABLE TO MANY OF THEM IN MY BOOK,

ALSO IF ANYONE HAS ALL THE AGES OF CHERRY MINE DISASTER, PHOTOS OR ANYTHING PLEASE EMAIL ME THANKS.

[email protected]

Last Survivor of the Coal Mine Disaster Dies

Last Survivor of the Centralia Number Five Coal Mine Disaster Dies at 83
2/22/10 @ 1:43:38 pm

The last survivor of the Centralia Number Five coal mine disaster has died. Joseph 'Red' Vancil of DuQuion passed away Saturday afternoon at the age of 83.

Vancil was only 20 years old when working in the mine the day of the disaster on March 25th, 1947. He was only one of four in the area of the actual explosion to be removed from the mine alive. His father and an uncle were both killed. Vancil spoke at a program in Centralia in 1997 commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the tragedy. He praised fellow workers in the mine. Vancil had gone back to the mine when it reopened, rejecting an above ground job to go back underground. The mine then closed permamently two years later.

Vancil retired as a welder and pipefitter. A Memorial Service for Vancil is set for 10:30 Tuesday morning at the First Presbyterian Church in DuQuion. Memorials may be made to the church. The Searby Funeral Home in DuQuoin is in charge of arrangements.

Curtesy of WJBD Radio in Salem