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Looking back to March 3, 1949: Two miners trapped as bump hits Number 2 mine

['<p>Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe</p>']
['<p>Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe</p>']

Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe

An unexpected “bump” in a head of the 11,000 in No. 2 mine, claimed the life of Thomas Gabriel, a miner, about 5 o’clock Wednesday afternoon. His buddy, Clyde “Jumbo” Corkum escaped with some cuts and is a patient in All Saints Hospital suffering from shock. Dan Dykens, who regularly worked with Mr. Gabriel, was ill yesterday afternoon and did not report for work. His place was taken by Clyde Corkum.

Came Suddenly

Without warning, the ‘bump” came according to men working on the wall in that section. In the head where Gabriel and Corkum were working the bump was so severe that the floor rose and closed off the passage with the exception of a narrow two-foot passage along the wall. The head had been driven some 290 feet toward the upper level and the spot where the floor rose was about 200 feet up the head. No statement was available from Corkum as the Record went to press. Thomas Gabriel, who died as a result of the bump, suffered severe facial and other injuries. Forty years of age he leaves to mourn a wife and 11 children. Corkum, who is 22 years of age, is married and has two children.

Gas Prevents Rescue

the Bump spent itself and the gas and dust rolled out of the head Jim Gillis, bottomer, Merle McKay and Lloyd Silvea made a determined effort to rescue the trapped workmen but were driven back by the gas and overpowering dust. Help from the wall arrived quickly and an urgent called was sent to the surface for the rescue crew who work under superintendent Frank Stevens. A rescue crew consisting of Captain Lloyd Murray, Alex Spence, Sim McDonald and Victor Hunter were equipped and rushed into the mine. A call went out for a doctor and Dr. H.L. Simpson responded. Along with Shirley Grant, RN, who is in charge of the Company Hospital, he entered the mine and took charge of the effort to revive Tom Gabriel. After two hours and 15 minutes artificial respiration, Tom Gabriel was pronounced dead. In the meantime, Corkum had been examined and rushed to the surface. From there he was taken in the new Company ambulance to All Saints Hospital suffering from shock. He was accompanied by nurse McDonald.

When Gillis and Smith were driven back by gas and dust as they attempted to rescue the trapped men they were joined by Deputy Overmen Ron Beaton and Angus McKay, and along with Muir McKay took the air hose from the long wall and courageously worked their way into the head. Manager Campbell, who arrived quickly on the scene, spoke highly of the leadership shown by these men. The Bump had almost sealed off the head and only a narrow space was left for the rescue crew to reach the injured men who were removed to the level with the greatest difficulty.

Everything Possible Done

“Everything possible was done for both men” said manager William Campbell, as he reported to Superintendent E.B. Paul on his return from the mine. When rescued, Tom Gabriel did not show any signs of life, but despite this the rescue crew, using artificial respiration worked over him for two hours and 15 minutes before Dr. H.L. Simpson pronounced him dead.

Bump Unexpected

The Bump in the 11,000 came as a surprise to us, said Supt. Paul, in an interview with the Record, as he expressed his regrets over the accident. Only Monday, said the superintendent, we closed the 7100 wall in No. 4 because of bumps and we are holding it idle until the 6700 comes in line with 7100 as we feel this will tend to lessen the bumps. This move has thrown some 70 men out of work temporarily, although we are hopeful that a full crew will be back on the job in a few days if all goes well.

Mine Knocked Off

As is customary in the case of a fatal accident the mine knocked off immediately and the workmen were taken to the surface as quickly as possible.

Examine Head

The No. 2 Pit Committee, consisting of Ray Porter and Mille Cvitkovich, went into the mine shortly after the bump to examine the scene of the accidents.

New Ambulance in Use

Company’s new ambulance came into use in removing Clyde Corkum to the hospital. ambulance was recently purchased by the Company replacing the former ambulance, which had been purchased by the Union and operated by the Company. new machine is a Chevrolet Stylemaster and offers every comfort to injured workmen. It is operated by the Company Police. Commenting on the operation of the vehicle, William Mont, who is in charge of the Company Police Department, told the Record, that red lights scattered around the plant, and operated by the lamp cabin, warn men that their services are required.

Pat Crowe is a member of the Springhill Heritage Group. To learn more or read past article of the Heritage Corner, visit www.springhillheritage.ca.

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