Linton, IN Coal Mine Explosion Disaster, Jan 1931
SEVEN ARE RESCUED IN LINTON MINE DISASTER AFTER BLAST KILLS 29.
"BLACK DAMP" HINDERS WORK OF RESCUE CREWS AT LITTLE BETTY COAL MINE IN GREENE COUNTY -- BODIES OF VICTIMS BADLY BURNED, MAKING IDENTIFICATION DIFFICULT -- MINER'S EXPERIENCE IN SULLIVAN BLAST IN 1925 SAVES COMPANIONS -- HAD BARRICADED THEMSELVES IN ENTRY OFF MAIN CORRIDORS -- CAUSE OF DISASTER BEING PROBED.
Linton, Ind., Jan. 29. -- (AP) -- The lives of twenty-nine miners were snuffed out in an explosion at the Little Betty coal mine near here late yesterday. With the rescue of two men last night and seven more this morning, all of the men in the mine had been accounted for.
Identification of the victims proceeded slowly this morning. Many of the bodies were so badly burned and disfigured a check of the dead made identification difficult. Soon after the blast, it was understood the accident had been caused by a spark igniting a quantity of blasting powder. Later reports, however, stated the explosive had been found intact and that the disaster was the result of a gas explosion.
The dreaded "black damp" quickly filled the passages of the mine and hampered the work of rescue crews.
The men who were rescued this morning had barricaded themselves in an entry off one of the main corridors.
Of the seven men rescued this morning JULE WELLINGTON suffered severe burns about the hands and face before he was able to crawl to safety. He was also in the Sullivan mine disaster in 1925 when fifty-one miners lost their lives.
The others brought out alive attributed their escape to WELLINGTON'S experience in the Sullivan explosion. WELLINGTON guided his companions to the entry where they walled themselves in. He helped erect the brattice despite his burns.
BEN SNYDER who was one of the lucky seven said he was afraid all of them were doomed. He had taken a piece of slate and had scratched on it the hour of the explosion (about 3 p. m.), doing this, he said, so that if they were not rescued there would be some record of how they died.
All of the bodies were taken to undertaking establishments this morning to be prepared for burial. No funeral arrangements had been made however.
ALBERT DALLEY, state mine inspector conducted an investigation of the explosion this morning. Its cause was undetermined.
Some reports stated that the explosion occurred when workers cut into an old vein of a nearby mine and that they struck a gas pocket which in some manner was ignited.
Linton, Ind., Jan. 29. -- (AP) -- The Little Betty mine, scene of yesterday's explosion, has been worked steadily for the last two years and its employes had escaped the misery of unemployment suffered by many because of closed mines.
On Feb. 20, 1925, the City mine at Sullivan, near here, was wrecked by an explosion similar to yesterday's accident. Fifty-one miners were killed. Only one man was brought out alive.
The Kokomo Tribune Indiana 1931-01-29
INDIANA MINE BLAST TOLL IS 29.
LAST VICTIM IS BROT OUT EARLY TODAY.
IDENTIFICATION AND INVESTIGATION IN STATE'S THIRD MAJOR MINE DISASTER STARTS.
NINE RESCUED ALIVE.
SURVIVOR DESCRIBES ESCAPE FROM EXPLOSION WHICH KILLED MEN FOLLOWING HIM.
Linton, Ind., Jan. 29. -- An official death toll of 29 was announced today as the last of the charred bodies were taken from the little Betty mine, near here, scene of Indiana's third major mining disaster since 1925.
As the twenty-ninth body was brot to the surface, officials announced that they had accounted for all men who were in the mine when a deafening blast shook the entire countryside yesterday afternoon. The number of those rescued alive was announced as nine, three of whom suffered severe injuries.
The last of the injured to be rescued was LOUIE WELLINGTON, Sullivan, Ind., whose face and upper body were burned so badly that officials refrained from questioning him regarding his version of the explosion.
With all men accounted for, the official work was turned to positive identification of the dead and investigation of the cause of the blast. Several of the dead were burned so badly that identification was difficult.
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