To the Editor,
Sunday, Nov. 1, at 5:07 p.m. will mark the 53rd anniversary of the explosion that ripped through the No. 4 mine.
The final death toll was 39 men but the number could have been greater or fewer, depending on the actions taken by those trapped underground.
A group of men under the leadership of Conrad Embree had gathered at the 5,400-foot level in a tunnel and they set up a protective enclosure consisting of brattice and they used compressed air to survive.
What they did was take an air hose and cut notches in it for each man in order to supply them with air. This was their lifeline and as long as they remained there they could survive until they were rescued.
Sad to say, not all remained.
Some grew impatient and tried to find their own way to safety, only to go a short distance, thus costing them their lives.
That is why I said that the number of survivors could have been greater or fewer, depending on the actions of these men.
With the passage of time the memory of this and other disasters that followed begins to fade as the older ones pass away.
Of the Springhill draegermen involved in the rescue operation in the No. 4 mine, to my knowledge, there are only three still remaining - Edward McCormick, Hilton McNutt and myself.
Following these disasters we have seen the town's population reduced from about 8,000 to the present number of about 4,000.
To reinvigorate our town we desperately need industries and I have long been an advocate of developing an industrial park as an incentive to encourage industries to locate here.
In other words, build it and they will come.
In the meantime, we patiently wait for things to happen.