Belle Isle, LA Salt Mine Explosion, Mar 1968
MINE PARTIES DISCOVER 21 BODIES.
Belle Isle, La., (UPI) -- Rescuers today found the bodies of 21 miners in the labyrinth of the Cargill Salt Mine on Louisiana's marshy coast, sprawled in remote caverns where they had fled to escape a fire.
Sixteen bodies were found this morning about 3,000 feet from the quarter-mile-deep main shaft. The remaining five were found about noon EST by the seventh of a series of rescue teams which probed the mine since a roaring fire trapped the men deep undergound at midnight Tuesday.
There were no survivors. The miners were apparently overcome by deadly carbon monoxide.
Exhausted rescuers returned to the surface. Cargill officials said they would not try to take the bodies out until Saturday.
"They were all hunched up together," said RAYMOND ASHBY of Madisonville, Ky., a member of the four-man team which found the first 16 bodies.
Another rescue team went down and found the other five men.
"They did not die a painful death," ASHBY said. "It was just like lying down and going to sleep."
Grimy miners gathered around the mine entrance, some of whom had been working without sleep for 60 hours, collapsed in tears when CLAYTON TONNEMAKER, a Cargill vice president, made the announcement that the first 16 bodies were found.
At the docks at Calumet, La., a few miles from the nearly inaccessible mine, Cargill executive EVAN WILLIAMS walked into a steel warehouse and told sobbing relatives the news. Three women collapsed and were taken away in ambulances.
The Modesto Bee And Herald California 1968-03-08
List Of The Casualties:
CLIFFORD J. BENOIT.
MICHAEL J. BOUDREAUX.
LUKE MILTON BOUTTE.
ROY P. BYRON.
JOHN H. CHRISTENSEN, JR.
LOUIS ROY FRILOT.
PAUL J. C. GRANGER.
WILBUR O. JENKINS.
MINOS J. LANGLINAIS, JR.
ALCIDE OLIVIER, JR.
DALLAS A. OLIVIER.
ARTHUR J. OLIVIER, JR.
PERCY JOSEPH PELTIER.
HILTON J. PRIMEAUX.
DENNIS T. ROMERO.
BURNICE HOMER SMITH.
HARRIS J. TOUCHET.
HARRY J. TOUCHET.
CHESTER J. VICE.