MAY 19, 1928,
DEATH TOLL 195
IN MATHER MINE
Corner Defers Inquest Until Cause
Of Explosion Has Been
MATHER, Pa. June 3. (AP)-- The official death toll in the mine explosion
here, May 19, was 195. Coroner John W. Ross announced tonight. He said
all but three bodies had been recovered. Only tow of the victims were
buried without identification. He had not yet fixed a date for the
inquest, he said, pending a decision by mine inspectors as to the cause
of the explosion.
The work of clearing the mine is progressing rapidly. Officials of
the Mather Colliery Company said the workings would be reopened in a few
Pictures (to be on my site later) Here are two pictures of C. A. Benjamin,
one of the men who went through the blast and lived. Upper left he is shown in
his shirt sleeves after he had told his story to a Post-Gazette man. Below is a
picture of him as he appeared after he had come out of the mine with a mine rescue
crew. After he escaped from the exploded galleries Benjamin went back in to aid
in rescuing his "buddies." At the right of the picture is Cornelius Beatty,
his wife and child. Beatty was trapped with Benjamin and when Benjamin, almost
overcome by the deadly black damp, wanted to quit and die, Beatty dragged
him on until they met a rescue crew. Sitting beside Benjamin in the upper picture
is August Crannock, the first man to enter the mine with rescue squads after
Consolidation of the
POST AND GAZETTE TIMES
P-G PUBLISHING CO., PUBLISHERS.
612 WOOD STREET
WEDNESDAY MORNING, MAY 23, 1928.
A MAJOR DISASTER.
With hope given at first that many of the men trapped by a gas
explosion in the Mather mine in Greene county last Saturday might be
saved, the immensity of the disaster has dawned by degrees. It is now
indicated that it was one of the worst catastrophes of the kind, with
its death list but to 196. That would leave it exceeded by only one
other in the history of Pennsylvania, that of Jacobs Creek in 1907, in
which 239 lives were lost. It would make it the sixth worst in the
history of the country: Monongah, W.Va., in 1907 with 361 victims;
Dawson, N.M., in 1913, with 263; Cherry, Ill., in 1909, with 259; Jacobs
Creek with details given above; Scofield, Utah, in 1900, with 200, and
The only relieving note in the dispatches present is that of the
heroic efforts that were made to save lives, with rescue teams rushed
forward not only from all the surrounding districts of Pennsylvania, but
also some from West Virginia. As usual, the Red Cross was early on the
scene and there also have been many volunteer relief workers. Even
though the mining company doing everything within its power to aid the
stricken families, and even though there was insurance carried for the
workers, the need in a disaster of such magnitude is great.
With the facts before it, this sympathetic and generous community
will know what to do to meet any further need for help.
Lone Survivor Owes Life
To Sitting Down for Rest
Krubik, Unable to Get Up Again Because of Weakness,
Dozes While Afterdamp Clears; Delirious
After Rescue 60 Hours Delayed.
MATHER, Pa., May 22, --(AP)--The fact Frank Krubik, rescued alive from
the Mather mine today, sat down to rest and was unable to get up again,
probably saved his life, safety experts who had talked with the miner
said tonight. Krubik was taken from the workings more than 60 hours
after an explosion Saturday had killed or entombed more than 200 miners.
George Riggs, connected with the United States department of mines,
declared Krubik told him he had wandered about the underground passages
in various directions, after the explosion, until he came to the 14 butt
where, between two trap doors in an air shaft, which guaranteed him fresh
air, he sat down to rest.
Could Not Get Up.
"I couldn't get up again after I sat down," the rescued miner was
quoted as saying. "I tried several times to rise and continue walking,
but each time my knees gave way. Then I decided to sit there and wait
what was coming to me. I had two long sleeps that I know of, and each
time I woke up I thought I was in another world. Fortunately I had
plenty of water, and dirty as it was, it tasted excellent to me. I kept
my handkerchief soaked in the water and pressed to my face."
Those who talked with Krubik, and there were only a few, said it
was impossible to continue a lengthy conversation for he became delirious
under the slightest strain. He was being cared for by several nurses and
doctors at the mine's emergency hospital tonight, while state troopers guarded
the door, permitting only authorized persons to enter.
Not Enough for Harm.
Members of the mine rescue team which located Krubik said tests of
the air in the room where he was found showed signs of afterdamp, but
not sufficient to cause a man's collapse.
Tests of the air were made with canary birds. Since the Mather
blast upwards of 100 of the little feathered creatures have been martyrs
to the cause of safety for the rescued workers within the poisonous
atmosphere underground. A fresh supply of canaries is kept constantly in
readiness for use.
(end of Mather mine articles, will try to find a casualty list.)
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2000 22:48:59 -0700
From: Laura Nelle Poland Mallett