Shenandoah, PA mine cave-in, Nov 1938


SHENANDOAH, Pa., Nov. 20 (UP.) - Two bootleg coal miners trapped forty hours by a mine cave-in were taken out alive Sunda and announced at once their intention to return to the same spot and resume mining.

William Bokuniewicz, 52, and apprentice and helpter, Joseph Comisky, 18, both of Shenandoah, suffered no ill effects from their long imprisonment thirty feet underground but were held in Shenandoah hospital to guard against pneumonia.

Bokuniewicz said he guessed he was lucky. It was the third time he had been trapped by a cave-in without harm.

The mine, a crude affair on Philadelphia & Reading Coal and Iron Company property, collapsed Friday afternoon when makeshift supports gave way and wet earth tumbled into the small chamber where the two men were mining coal and hoisting it to the surface in buckets.

Bokuniewicz said he was not frightened at any time, although the first two hours were slightly doubtful because the wet earth continued to slide into the chamber. Rescue crews and equipment supplied by the coal company, on whose property the men were mining without permission, worked all of Friday night and day and Saturday night, digging a parallel shaft and proceeding slowly because of threateing cave-ins.

Bokuniewicz said he would return to the shaft, dig out the earth filling the chamber and resume work. Comisky said he was willing to go anywhere Bokuniewicz would go, but confessed he prayed throughout the entombment except for a brief nap in which he dreamed he was in a coffin.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 21 Nov 1938