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Frank, AB Landslide Disaster, Apr 1903

Frank Circa 1911 Showing Part of Slide Frank Landslide

STORY OF FRANK DISASTER.

LATER DETAILS DO NOT SERVE TO LESSEN THE AWFULNESS OF THE OCCURRENCE.

THE TOWN IS SAID TO BE THREATENED BY FLOOD ALSO, AS THE STREAM THAT WINDS THROUGH IT IS DAMMED UP BY BOULDERS -- SCIENTISTS INCLINE TO EXPLOSION THEORY.

(By Associated Press.)
Frank, N.W.T., April 30. -- The disaster at Frank yesterday was a huge landslide. There was no explosion whatever. The avalanche was of such large dimension that the cloud of dust was taken for smoke and the minor slips were taken for inside explosion.
The whole east end of the mountain extending from the tipple eastward has gone out. It was 4,400 feet high and slid across the entire valley, blocking the track to the French mine. This track is about forty feet higher than the Canadian Pacific railway track and is distant about three-quarters of a mile from the mine entrance.

Portland, Ore., April 30. -- A special to The Oregonan from Frank, N.W.T., gives the names of fifty-five persons of yesterday's disaster at the Frank mines:
ALEX LEITH, a merchant, wife and four sons.
C. ACKROYD, a miner, and his wife.
A. CLARK, laborer, wife and five children.
J. SIROTA, driver.
ANDREW CARESACK, trapper.
G. WILLIAMS, miner, wife and three children.
WILLIAM WARRINGTON, miner, wife and six children.
JOHN VANDUREN, carpenter, wife and two children.
B. SUMIS, miner.
F. SUMIS, miner.
B. YESKID, miner.
F. WARRINGTON, miner.
D. FOSTER, miner.
A. DAWES, miner.
THOMAS LOCK, miner.
M. MARTIGIN, miner.
JAMES GRAHAM, laborer and wife.
ROBERT WATT, laborer.
R. ROCHETTE, laborer.
THOMAS DELAP, engineer.
A. TASGHISAN, weighman.
JOSEPH BRIGHTON, FRANK VOUCHON, JOHN McVEIGH, J. LEINARD, all employes of McVEIGH, a railroad contractor.
The fatally injured are:
MRS. JOHN WATKINS.
LESTER JOHNSON, aged fourteen.

Story Of Disaster.
Vancouver, B.C., April 30. -- Without an instant of warning, Turtle mountain, in southwestern Alberta, was split asunder by an eruption at 4:10 o'clock Wednesday morning, and a minute later the little mining town of Frank, situated at its base, was overwhelmed with millions of tons of rock.
The inhabitants, aroused in alarm from their slumbers by the tremendously loud reverberation of the heaving mountain, were in many cases killed by the falling stones, which crushed in their houses and killed them in their beds.
It is believed that the victions of the volcano number 112. Of these, eighty-two men, women, and children are said to have perished in their homes. Twelve miners employed by the French Canadian Coal company were killed while working in the shafts and are believed to be lost.
The falling rock completely stopped all of the entrances to the mines, and, shut off from the supplies of fresh air in the bowels of the mountain, it is not believed that they were able to have lived throughout the day.
To add to the horror Frank is threatened with complete destruction by flood, Old Man's river, which flows through the center of the town, is dammed up with the fallen rocks to the height of nearly 100 feet. The waters of the river are backed up for miles and the entire valley above the town is flooded.
A big body of water is pressing with force upon the accidental dam, the only protection the town now has, unless the river finds another channel. Should it break the entire village would be swept away.
According to reliable reports from eye witneses, the earth opened for three-quarters of a mile and many feet in width. Then the whole northern face of Turtle mountain slipped from place. The shock resultant upon the precipitation of the millions of tons of rocks into the valley demolished the houses where the fatalities took place, and so shook the foundations of the majority of the other dwellings that they are unsafe to live in. Many hundreds of people will have to live in the open or under such temporary shelter as may be procurable.
The railroad track for a distance of two miles or more east of the station is covered with ten to forty feet of rock, and the telegraph wires are down. All communication is being conducted over one wire running westward. This one line is so overwhelmed with private messages and inquiries from the outside, that it is only with the greatest difficulty that information can be sent out.

The Cause.
The generally accepted theory is that Turtle mountain was torn asunder by a volcano. No lava has been seen, but smoke has hung over the mountain all day. This is the only explanation for the continued upheaval of rock. The eruptive influences seem to center right at the crown of Turtle mountain.
The Frank mines were operated by the French Canadian Coal company and were across the river from the town. They are buried under hundreds of feet of rock.
In spite of the conditions surrounding the eruption of Turtle mountain BAYNES REED, superintendent of the meteorological survey at Victoria, has developed the film of a seismograph, which discloses not the slightest trace of a seismic disturbance. That a volcanic eruption or earthquake took place at Frank is utterly discredited by him.

Was Explosion.
Chicago, Ill., April 30. -- Prof. T. C. CHAMBERLIN, head of the department of geology at the university of Chicago, said last night: "McLeod is in a volcanic region, but it is improbable that this explosion was due to volcanic force. There has been no sign of an eruption during recent times within 150 miles of that point."
"It is more likely that the explosion was caused by accumulated gas from the coal mines that are located in the region."

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern Wisconsin 1903-04-30



article | by Dr. Radut