Muskogee, OK Sewer Ditch Cave-In, Jul 1911

7 KILLED, 3 INJURED IN MUSKOGEE CAVE-IN

LABORERS IN SEWER DITCH BURIED UNDER TONS OF EARTH. SEVERAL SAVED.

Special to The News.
Muskogee, OK., July 24. – Seven are dead and three injured as the result of a cave-in on a big sewer ditch four miles northeast of Muskogee this afternoon. Two of the dead are white men. A gang of men was digging a big sewer ditch in a twenty-six-foot cut then the cave-in occurred, partially burying three men.

The work of the rescue started and the men were almost extricated from the earth when a second cave-in occurred, buying [sic] the original three and four more. This caused a panic and the workmen who were not carried down ran away from the ditch.

A runner brought the news to Muskogee and physicians and rescue men were sent out.

Three men were taken out of the ditch badly crushed and bruised, but they will recover. The engineer of the big steam shovel missed being bruised by a peculiar accident. A piece of timber used to brace the walls of dirt struck him and knocked him back. Had this not happened Engineer E. H. Holbert would rave [sic] been buried alive.
Probably a hundred tons of dirt fell on the men. The cave-in was caused by the recent heavy rains that loosened the dirt.

The dead:
CHARLES METCALF, Lexington, Ky., white, gang boss.
GEORGE BOWMAN, negro.
M. B. WINTERS, white.
FOUR UNKNOWN NEGROES.

Injured:
Lum Sirls, negro, hurt internally.
Charles Pickett of Taylor, Tex., negro, shoulder dislocated.
Jim Bilops, negro, badly bruised.

At dark the big steam shovel was still digging in the earth trying to uncover the bodies of three negroes.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 25 Jul 1911