Golconda, IL Freak Mining Accident, Apr 1971

Removing victim from the mine

FREAK ACCIDENT KILLS SEVEN IN ILLINOIS MINE.

Golconda, Ill., (UPI) -- BILL LONG, 30, polished off his lunch and trudged down the narrow tunnel into the Ozark-Mahoning Co. fluorspar mine Monday. His job was to measure timbers 800 feet underground.
When he didn't return to where other miners were working, one by one they went to check on him. They were overcome by deadly, colorless hydrogen sulfide gas.
Seven miners, including LONG, died in what state officials called a freak accident. Seven others managed to scramble to safety before fumes could cut them down.
"It was so strong it almost knocked me down," said MARLOW EWELL, 43, Harrisburg, one of those who escaped.
"I saw four different men down. I passed out twice while trying to help two of the men and then I passed out at least two other times getting out of the mine," EWELL said.
EWELL was treated for cuts and abrasions suffered when he stumbled into the walls of the seven-foot wide, nine-foot high tunnel.
Besides LONG, the dead miners were identified as:
WAYNE LONG, 39, BILL'S brother.
JERRY JENKINS, 30.
ORVAL HOLBROOK, 47.
GALE BATES, 42.
RANDALL BELFORD, 34.
JAMES LANE, 42.
BELFORD and LANE were brought alive from the gasfilled work face. BELFORD died a short time later and LANE died early today in Hardin County Hospital at nearby Rosiclare despite hours of transfusions and intravenous feeding. Golconda is in southernmost Illinois, just across the Ohio River near Paducah, Ky.

Ames Daily Tribune Iowa 1971-04-13