Herron, MI Prospectors Killed In Mine, Oct 1952


Herron, Mich., Oct. 31 -- (AP) -- Five men prospecting for uranium were killed last night when an underground explosion ripped through the 180-foot deep shaft of an abandoned gold mine near here.
State police identified the victims as:
JOHN WILECZYNSKI, (no age available) of Chicago.
PAT CHAVALIER, 32, of Herron, and three brothers:
ZEKE, 47, HENRY, 37, and BERNARD DONKE, 44, all of Herron.
A sixth man, JOHN PASTUSZKA, Chicago, miraculously escaped injury in the blast which occrred at 11:15 p.m. (EST).
Police said the bodies of CHAVALIER and ZEKE DONKE were still entombed at the bottom of the water filled shaft.
Searchers recovered the bodies of the other victims which had been hurled some 300-feet from the shaft entrance by the force of the blast.
The mine is located 10 miles west of Alpena.
PASTUSZKA told police CHAVAILER and ZEKE DONKE had gone down into the shaft to check on the removal of water pumps used to drain the abandoned mine. He said he and the others were grouped around the shaft entrance when the explosion occurred.
PASTUSZKA said a tool shed between him and the shaft opening probably saved his life.
State police said PASTUAZKA did not know the cause of the explosion.

The News Palladium Benton Harbor Michigan 1952-10-31



Alpena -- (AP) -- Efforts were resumed today to recover the body of the last of five men killed in a roaring mine explosion Thursday night at nearby Herron.
The five had been prospecting for uranium deposits in the long abandoned, 280-foot vertical shaft.
Bodies of three of the men standing at the entrance to the mine at the time of the blast were recovered immediately. The fourth, that of PAT CHEVALIER, 34, of Herron, was found late yesterday.
The body of CHEVALIER'S brother-in-law, SIEGHARD DOMKE, 47, also of Herron, still was in the depths of the shaft, which was believed to be filled with 100 feet of water.

The News Palladium Benton Harbor Michigan 1952-11-01