Connellsville, PA Mine Accident, May 1904


Brave Italian Miner Risked His Life to Save Fallen Comrade


Miners' Untiring Work to Reach Body of John Kandi in the Depths of Leisenring No. 3 Mine---Inspector Callaghan Investigates

Down in the black depths of Leisenring No. 3 mine there was an act of heroism last week that is seldom equalled[sic] on the field of battle. Tony Tressula, an Italian, repeatedly risked his life to save John Kandi, who was killed by a fall of slate and whose body lay under the fall from Wednesday evening until the following Sunday morning.

The death of Kandi was caused by the biggest fall of slate and rock ever recorded in the mine. The fall occurred forty feet from the entry, according to measurements taken by Mine Inspector Bernard Callaghan of the Ninth Bituminous District, who has just completed an inspection of the surroundings of the fall. A Hungarian was cutting off a pillar near the edge of the fall and Kandi was holding two safety lamps for him to see plainly. The fall had been "grinding" for several hours. Suddenly a piece of slate dislodged above Kandi, and, falling, pinned him to the ground. The miner ran out of the room, calling for assistance. Tressula, who was working in an adjacent room, hurried to the scene and, with the rocks crashing around and above him, he ran in to where Kandi lay prostrate. He lifted the unfortunate man's head, and saw him die with a prayer on his lips .

The weight of the slate was too great for one man to lift, and Tressula came back to where the miners were standing. No one would volunteer to help carry Kandi out and Tressula went back a second time. He could not get the body dislodged and came out again just in time to escape the big fall, more than thirty feet deep, which followed.

Superintendent Peter Glenn and Mine Boss Michael Ryan at once started a gang of men to work on the fall. It was found necessary to tunnel the fall, timbering every two feet and bracing the sides of the tunnel.

The work was slow as there was a distance of almost fifty feet to traverse in order to reach the body, and only one digger could work in the tunnel at once. There were plenty of volunteers and the miners worked faithfully night and day. There is absolutely no foundation for the story that the miners refused to enter the mine until the body was found. Every available measure was taken to hurry the work of tunneling. The body was finally found, crushed almost to a jelly, and taken to the boarding house where Kandi stayed.

The Daily Courier, Connellsville, PA 24 May 1904