151 Trapped in German Mine Blast
According to the latest figures, 151 miners lost their lives in mine explosions one thousand feet underground at Neurode, Germany. Of this number eighty-two died in the chamber where the blast occurred, fifty-five in the next tunnel and the remainder in nearby tunnels and shafts. In an attempt to save the lives of 130 men in the next sections, it was necessary to slam the air doors shut after the explosion, leaving eighty-one to their fate.
Rescuers report that they found bodies with hammers and drills still clutched in the hands, the engineer of the little electric locomotive with his hand still on the throttle, a carloader slumped beside the dump car and one man sprawled across the alarm telephone.
Carbon monoxide gas lias long been known here and the Wenceslaus mine has always had a particularly bad reputation as a death trap. The precautions taken include setting off a charge of dynamite before a new shift goes on in order to shake any of the nearly exposed pockets of gas loose. It is also forbidden to use vibrating hammers in drilling for fear of opening up a deadly well of poison. Nevertheless there is no absolute safeguard except the closing of the mine, which is said to be unprofitable anyhow and to produce a poor grade of coal.
Explosions of carbon monoxide have been known to have a force sufficient to disrupt a mass of stone and coal weighing more than 1,000 tons, according to the Prussian Bureau of Mines, which further points out that the most dangerous moment is in the use of explosives which must be discharged electrically from a distance and when the men are all above ground.
It is impossible to ascertain the cause of the catastrophe now. but it is assumed that it must have been started by a driller coming unawares on a pocket.
The average family income of these miners is one dollar a day. More than nine hundred miners were discharged after July 1 owing to business depressions.
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