Yukon, WV Mine Explosion, May 1928
MISSING MINERS BELIEVED DEAD.
HOPE IS ABANDONED FOR FOUR MEN ENTOMBED BY BLAST AT YUKON; THIRTEEN BODIES ARE RECOVERED.
Welch, May 23. -- Bodies of the four men missing since last night's explosion in the Yukon mine were recovered by rescue workers late tonight. An investigation will start today, it was announced.
Welch, May 23. (AP) -- Hope was abandoned tonight that four missing men might still be alive in the Yukon-Pocahontas Coal company mine No. 1 at Yukon, from which thirteen bodies were recovered early this morning.
Rescue crews forcing their way into the wrecked mine reported that the thirteen bodies recovered were found in a heap beside a mine train on which they were riding to their working places. All but two of the bodies had been blown from the man-trip.
Several hundred yards beyond the spot where the thirteen bodies were recovered was the place where the four missing men were working. The missing men, WILLIAM SAYRES, AWDIE LOWE, GEORGE MILLER and BERNARD SHAMBLIN, operated cutting machines. It is believed by rescue workers that the spark which ignited gas causing the explosion originiated at or near the machines.
The explosion occurred last night as men employed on the night shift were entering the mine. The operators of the cutting machines had entered the mine half an hour earlier than other workers and are believed to have been operating their machine about three miles from the mine mouth when the blast occurred.
Faulty telephone service hindered the gathering of rescue crews and it was not until hours later that news of the explosion spread outside of the immediate territory.
Rescue crews were hurried to the mine from the Consolidation Coal company's Coalwood mine, which sent a crew of fifteen men and the Pocahontas Pond Coal company which sent a crew of six. All were equipped with gas masks and qualified to work in gas-filled sections.
Two state department of mines rescue cars with full equipment were at the mine and a number of state mine inspectors headed the crews that searched for bodies.
Of the men whose bodies have been recovered, two had been employed in the mine only one day. They were SILAS HONAKER and his son, FULLEN HONAKER, of Honaker, Va. The younger man had gained his first experiences as a miner Monday night and was enroute to his second night's work when killed.
Other bodies recovered were those of JAMES WAKELY, fire boss; JAMES MALISKI; JOHN BRAVIN, all of Yukon, and JOHN BROWN, of War, all white, and REED JOHNSON, ENOCH HOLLAND, WILL WADE, JOSHUA BOYHIN, WILLIAM FIELDS, MACK WEAVER and EARL WILKINSON, negroes, all of Yukon. Fourteen of the men were married.
When recovered, the bodies were placed in a temporary morgue in the blacksmith shop. An inquest will be held next week, Dr. H. G. Camper, McDowell county coroner said.
Charleston Gazette West Virginia 1928-05-24