Wilburton, OK Gas Explosion In Coal Mine, Jan 1926

TERRIFIC MINE EXPLOSION ENTOMBS 105 VICTIMS.

RESCUE WORKERS FEAR GREATER PART OF ENTRAPPED DAY SHIFT FORCE WAS INSTANTLY KILLED.

BLAST WRECKS TIPPLE AT MOUTH OF MINE, DESTROYS HOISTING EQUIPMENT.

AIRSHAFT, INTACT, USED FOR RESCUE ATTEMPT.

SURVIVORS ABLE TO CONVERSE WITH PERSONS ON SURFACE THRU SHAFT.

Oklahoma City, Okla., Jan. 13. -- (AP) -- Gov. M. E. Trapp today ordered a company of national guards at McAlester to report to Wilburton where more than 100 men were entombed in a mine explosion. They are wanted for guard duty.
Oklahoma City, Okla., Jan. 13. -- (INS) -- State Mine Inspector ED BOYLE, of the Oklahoma bureau of mines, in a long distance telephone conversation from Wilburton with his assistant in the bureau's office here this afternoon, stated that 105 miners, entombed following an explosion at the Degnan-McConnell mine No. 21, early this morning, were all dead.
Wilburton, Okla., Jan. 13. -- (AP) -- Most of the 105 men working in the Degnan-McConnell mine three miles west of here are believed to have been instantly killed today in a terrific explosion that wrecked the main shaft and entombed them.
A rescue crew started work at 10:30 a. m. and will attempt to reach the trapped men thru the airshaft, which is still open.
Some of the victims are still alive and conversed with rescuers thru the airshaft. They were advised to remain near the shaft.
J. B. HYNAL, chief of the United States bureau of mines rescue crew at McAlester, was in charge of the work. Equipped with gas helmets, he and two helpers entered the shaft.
Hoister Is Wrecked.
The blast wrecked the tipple and destroyed the hoisting equipment. Emergency hoisting apparatus was being installed to bring out the victims after they are reached.
Frantic groups of the entombed men's relatives gathered about the mine. Word of the explosion spread quickly and crowds of sightseers from neighboring towns assembled. The shaft was roped off to hold back the crowds and expedite the rescue work.
Workmen from other mines in the Wilburton valley rushed to the scene and volunteered their assistance in the rescue work.
Rescue work was being hindered somewhat by the blocking of the main passageway into the mine. The first rescue crew was forced to turn back a second time.
Erect Hospital.
They were unable to squeeze their way thru the debris blown into the manway by the explosion. Previously they had turned back to don smaller gas masks when larger ones were found to be burdensome and in the way.
Four doctors and a corps of nurses were standing by for service in event any of the miners brought to the surface are alive. Others are on the way from Hartsborne and McAlester. DR. T. L. HENRY, company physician who has served the victims of five previous mine disasters was in charge of medical service.
The local chapter of Red Cross has startged erection of a temporary hospital and members are serving hot coffee and doughnuts to the workers.
A. P. THOMPSON, mining engineer, Hartshorne, who was here doing survey work for the coal company, was among those entombed.

Waterloo Evening Courier Iowa 1926-01-13

Continued

Read another article about the disaster (below).