Crosby, MN Iron Mine Flooded, Feb 1924
42 MINERS PERISH AS POND EMPTIES INTO IRON SHAFT.
CAUGHT IN TRAP WHEN BOTTOM FALLS OUT OF LAKE.
ONLY 7 ESCAPE.
WATER AND SLIME ROAR INTO LOWER LEVELS WITHOUT MOMENT'S WARNING.
Crosby, Minn. -- (AP) -- Forty-two miners perished when the bottom fell out of a small pond and flooded the workings of the Milford Iron Mine near here late Tuesday.
Officials of the company had not completed a check up of their lists.
Thirty-seven names have been definitely checked, and officials gave them out as follows, declaring their records did not show the age or positive residence of the victims, or whether they were married or single.
RONALD McDONALD, of Duluth.
A. E. WOLFORD.
G. H. REVORD.
C. A. HARRIS.
L. J. LABRASH.
Caught in the lower levels of the small mine, only seven of the crew were able to gain the safety of a skip and ascend to the surface.
Like rats in a trap their comrades died, suffocated by the slimy mud and water that gushed through the workings, soaring up the shaft to within a few feet of the top within 15 minutes.
There was no extended warning -- just "a rumble like a thousand automobiles roaring down a distant road," one survivor said. Then the leading black wave of death engulfed them, battering its victims against the walls.
Tonight around the shaft opening scores of wives and mothers and children stood, some in tears, others dry-eyed and staring, as helpless as were the men about them to snatch from the murky waters the bodies of their loved ones.
Most of the victims were young men, many of them married, and most of the children that took up the sorrowful vigil with their mothers were tiny ones, clutching in wonderment at their mothers' skirts, awed by the thing that had made them orphans.
While a number of the men were foreigners, by far the greater number were naturalized Americans or American-born and all were experienced miners, working in an old mine deemed entirely safe.
The mine, situated about four miles north of Crosby in a region somewhat swampy, formerly was the old Ida May Mine, owned then by the Cuyuna-Minneapolis Iron Company.
Two electric high powered pumps are drawing the water at the rate of 12,000 gallons a minute, and experienced mining men say that it may require weeks, perhaps months, to free the imprisoned bodies.
Emil Kain, the last survivor who left the working, today told of trying to save others and that some would have been saved had they heeded his warning. He was working at the bottom of the shaft when the crash came. He called to six other men warning them of the danger.
They said something about waiting for the cage. Then, as he fled up the stairs, he saw the men swept to instant death.
Just ahead of him six other men had mounted the stairs to safety.
Janesville Daily Gazette Wisconsin 1924-02-06