Cave City, KY Mine Cave-In, Jan 1925


Shaft Nearing Victim, But Penetration of Cavern Not Expected Until Today.


Pump Installed to Remove Water, after Heavy Rain Causes Difficulty.

CAVE CITY, Ky., Feb. 15.--(Associated Press)--Despite resumption tonight of slow, tedious and dangerous lateral cribbing and tunnel work, be rescue miners digging toward Sand Cave, where Floyd Collins has been trapped for more than sixteen days, the workmen were pressing ahead when officials let it be known in an official bulletin that they expected to penetrate the limestone avenue about the cave sometime tomorrow.

Falls Cause Delays.

Just what time the officials expected to break through was not stated, although at noon it was said that ten to twelve additional hours would be required. This time was lengthened, however, when a bulletin at 8 o'clock said work on the lateral had been delayed six hours, due to dirt falls and necessary timber work.

Discovery of a natural passage seven feet from the shaft which it was thought would lead to Collins, resulted in a change in direction of the shaft. It now is being sunk at an angle of about 45 degrees instead of the perpendicular mode as heretofore. It was only planned, however, to vary the main shaft, traversing 15 feet while varying over ten feet from the shaft, then proceed straight downward.

Shaft Nearing Victim

Another sound test today between parties in the new angular shaft and the old tunnel where Collins is trapped supported estimates that the shaft is nearing the victims.

Following a heavy rain last night officials today installed a pump in the shaft to draw the seepage from the deep six foot square hole, in order to expedite the work.

During the early hours today excitement prevailed at the shaft when several physicians appeared unannounced at the mouth and told officials they had been summoned for a hurried conference. The officials denied any knowledge of the call, however, and rumors that Collins had been found and physicians called to give him immediate treatment were said to be false. It later was learned that the physicians had met in form a local conference committee to offer their aid in treating Collins when he finally was found.

H. T. Carmichael, in charge of the shaft operations, in a conversation with newspapermen, at 9:45 tonight, advised them to go to bed as he did not expect to reach Collins before Wednesday, "but that he would be disappointed if he did not find him before then."

Workmen were understood to have said when they emerged from the shaft that the new limestone avenue which they had found today probably would lead them to another void about three feet above the levels of the old cave passage where they think Floyd Collins is entombed. They then plan to penetrate the remaining yard and hope to strike the yard in which Collins' body may be found.

Held 16 Days.

Today's developments in the rescue effort included:

Discovery of a natural passage seven feet from the shaft which may lend to the tunnel where Collins is imprisoned.

Further sound tests between parties in Sand Cave and in the shaft support previous estimates that the shaft was located near Collins.

Ten o'clock tonight marked exactly sixteen and one half days since Collins was imprisoned in the cave by an accidental fall of debris that caught and held him captive by his ankles.

Discovery of latest underground passage had aroused hopes of workmen in soon reaching Collins, to higher pitch than has been noticeable for several days.

Officials forced to install a pump in shaft to draw out water seeping in due to heavy rains last night.

After shaft reached depth of 55 feet workmen began to excavate at an angle of 45 degrees instead of continuing straight on down.

Official Statement

The official statement went on to say:

"The total distance of the lateral heading is now seven feet and we are about ready to drive ahead. Material encountered is still limestone boulder formation, very loosely formed and difficult to hold.

"It is now thought necessary to continue headings at least four feet further before starting downward into the limestone roof of the avenue in order to clear slides and broken formation immediately behind the shaft of the cave entrance side.

"Work tonight will be slow and tedious on account of the dangerous ground but barring unforeseen calamity, it is to be expected that the avenue shown by the core drill may be reached by tomorrow."

R. N. [ineligible]mbie, chief mine inspector of West Virginia, accompanied W. H. Jones, chief mine inspector of Kentucky, arrived on a visit to the Sand Cave shaft this afternoon.

Soldiers Patrol Road.

Despite last night's terrific rain storm another curious throng surrounded Sand Cave today, but it was nowhere near so large as that of last Sunday.

Soldiers patrolled the road leading to the cave and traffic conditions were much better. Occasionally an over-ambitious flivver with a load of six or eight persons would slide in the yellow ditch.

The gate to the military reservation extending about 500 feet back from the cliff under which the cave lies was closed to the general public, only officials, workers and newspapermen being admitted. On top of the cliff the military fence is only 100 feet back, and while absolutely nothing of the shaft operations can be seen from that point on account of the huge tarpaulin roof hung over the shaft, some morbidly curious spectators draped their chins on top of the wire all day long.

Another impromptu religious service consisting of the singing of a few hymns and a prayer was held this evening on top of the cliff. The religious fervor apparent last Sunday seemed to have passed.

Bridgeport Telegram, Bridgeport CT Feb 16, 1925