Scofield, UT Terrible Mine Disaster, May 1900 - Bodies Taken from Mines
201 BODIES TAKEN FROM UTAH MINES.
DEATH LIST FROM EXPLOSION MAY EXCEED 300.
WORK OF RESCUE IN PROGRESS.
GHASTLY SCENES ENCOUNTERED IN GETTING OUT THE DEAD.
Bodies Found In Groups -- Cause of the Accident Still Undetermined -- Accounts of Survivors.
Scofield, Utah, May 2 -- To-night's estimate of the number of killed in the terrible mine explosion here yesterday is 250, but the total death list may yet reach 300. Relief work is still in progress, being conducted by shifts of men. The shift now in the mine has fifty bodies ready to bring out, and the number of corpses yet to be reached is still uncertain.
Arriving trains are constantly bringing relatives of the victims from outside points and the coal company has designated a committee to carry the dead to Salt Lake, Ogden, and other cities. On account of gas, No. 4 mine has been abandoned as a means of rescue, and bodies are arriving at the mouth of No. 1 mine by the carload.
When the removal of the bodies from the mines began hundreds of men volunteered their services for the purpose. The rescuers came from other mines and towns surrounding, and worked incessantly to bring out the burned and mangled remains of the dead miners. The bodies were taken to the company buildings as soon as they were brought out of the mine, and were there dressed and laid out, preparatory to the Coroner's inquest and for identification.
To-day 201 bodies had been recovered from Mine No. 4. It is now known that nearly 400 men entered the mines, and it is also known that most of them were killed in the powder explosion of yesterday. Nine-tenths of the men killed are Americans and Welshmen. The former come mostly from Utah, with a small number from Tennessee and Colorado.
Among the dead are about twenty young boys who acted as couplers and trap boys. In the HUNTER family alone seven are missing. A large number of the dead were married men.
The financial loss to the company cannot be estimated yet, but it will be great. In every way it is regarded as the worst disaster ever occurring in this part of the country. The nearest approach to it was the Southern Pacific Almy (Wyo.) explosion five years ago, when over 100 men were killed.
Dead Bodies In Groups.
The afterdamp delayed the work of the rescuing party, but the magnitude of the disaster soon became apparent. All men on the raise known as "Pike's Peak" were lying in clusters. JOHN JAMES, a County Commissioner, was found with his son, GEORGE, entwined in loving embrace in each other's arms. All these men apparently had realized that death was coming, for all were found as though in attitudes of defense. Some had their cloaks about them; others tried to protect themselves by burying their faces in the ground floor of the mine, hoping thus to escape the deadly gas that was fast enveloping them. They must have lived for some time in prayerful expectation of rescue reaching them. BERNARD DOUGALL, a young engineer from Springville, Utah, who had just entered the mine a few minutes before with his assistants, was found with his instrument set, while he and his men lay dead around it.
JOHN KIRTON was the first man brought to the surface. He was still alive, but presented a terrible sight. His scalp was burned to a cinder and his face was almost unrecognizable. In his horrible pain, he cried out to his companions, begging them to end his misery by taking his life.