Greeley Daily Tribune from Greeley, Colorado on March 10, 1976 · Page 25
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Greeley Daily Tribune from Greeley, Colorado · Page 25

Greeley, Colorado
Issue Date:
Wednesday, March 10, 1976
Page 25
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Kentucky mine blast kills 15 Wed., March It. H7t GKEELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE 25 By BOB COOPER AuwlitedPrm Writer OVEN FORK, Ky. (AP) The bodies of 15 men, killed in a southeastern Kentucky coal mine, were recovered early today, and at least one question was raised about safety procedures In the mine. The blast occurred Tuesday afternoon as the men were laying rails. Nine were killed instantly and the others died after a leak developed in an air-tight barrier they had attempted to build, rescuers said. Officials described the explosion as a methane gas blast, and Rep. Tim Lee Carter, R- Ky., said after visiting the mine early today that he feared the level of methane was too great. "I'm afraid someone was welding ... and I would have hoped they would have monitored the methane and I don't think they did," Carter said. "I think the methane was too high." Officials of the mining company were not immediately available for comment on Carter's remark. But Oscar Harris, a coal mine supervisor for the federal Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration, said he hadn't heard of anyone welding. "The men were laying rails, that we know," said Harris. "We are sending a team of Inspectors back into the mine late this afternoon to see what we can find. Until then, I can't even hazard a guess as to what triggered the blast." Herschel Potter, safety division chief for the Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration, said the mine has a generally good safety record. It "stands tall in the industry" where safety is concerned, Potter said in Washington. He said that last year the mine reported one fatal accident, five nonfatal ones and six disabling injury accidents. No fatal accidents were reported in 1174, he said, and three deaths were reported between 1970 and MB. The mine is on a geological fault, which makes the mine contain methane gas. Measurements in 1972 showed the mine producing 300,000 cubic feet of gas per 24 hours, considered a relatively small amount. The explosion occurred at the Scotia Coal Co.'s No. 1 Black Mountain mine at 1: is Tuesday afternoon. Company officials said 106 men were working underground at the time but all the others escaped safely. Rescue efforts began immediately and continued through the day. At least eight rescue teams worked in relays, clearing the e-foot-high passage sec- lion by section. They pushed ventilating equipment behind large screens, clearing boulders from the smoky, gas-filled passageway. Thirteen bodies were found before midnight, said Harrald Kirkpatrick, state commission- er of mines and minerals. The other two were found at 1:20 a.m. Kirkpatrick said the cause of death could not be determined Immediately. He said a full investigation by both federal officials and the mining company would begin at once. The 15 men, who were in one of several crews working in the mine at the time, were laying rails to be used by mine cars to remove coal from the shaft. They were about four miles from the mine entrance and about 1,600 feet below ground. The explosion blew out concrete block walls that guide air through the tunnel, according to slate police spokesman Steve Owen. Methane gas is found in deep coal seams, and the air helps keep it from collecting in large quantities. Persons living near the mine said it had been closed briefly Monday because of too much gas. MINE EXPLOSION - Families and friends of 15 miners trapped in a Southeast Kentucky c"al mine wait outside the mine's entrance Tuesday. The men were caught deep in the mine by an explosion Tuesday afternoon near Whitesburg. Ky. (AP Wirephoto) IF YOU DRIVE 25,000 MILES OR MORE PER YEAR -YOU'D BETTER READ THE SMALL PRINT BELOW That's right -- we'll compare miles per gallon, cost of fuel per gallon and depreciation of vehicles and prove to you that you can own a MERCEDES-BENZ DIESEL and actually save dollars, even when comparing with standard sized Fords, Chevrolets, or Plymouths -- and if you really want a shocker compare your savings to an equivalent priced luxury car, such as Llnclon, Cadillac or Chrysler. Come In and take the pencil test and prove it to yourself. BOB MARKLEY IMPORTS Volkswagen -- Saab -- M«rctd«s-B«nz 3805 W. 10th St. Greeley 353-3311 One survives cable car plunge TRENTO, Italy (UPI) -National police who recovered the shattered bodies of 42 skiers killed in Western Europe's worst recorded cable car crash said today at least 15 children ·.vcrc aboard the ill-fated gondola. The cable car, jammed with 43 skiers, was making its last run Tuesday from the slopes of snow-covered Ml. Cermiswhen the car began to bounce, swingly wildly above a steep ravine carved out by the Aviso River. Then the support cable snapped. The bright-red gondola plunged 230 yards, smash- Ing into the ravine's jagged slope, then skidded 300 feet to a meadow on the banks of the Aviso. The three-ton overhead carriage assembly crushed the cabin like a tin can, killing all but one aboard. National police working through the night to identify the victims' shattered remains said today 15 of them were children, aged 7 to 13. They identified 10 as Italians and nine as West Germans. The remaining 23 were believed to be Germans, Austrians and possibly Dutchmen. The disaster was Western Europe's worst known cable- way disaster, surpassing the July, 1972 crash at Betten, Switzerland that killed 13 persons. The only survivor of Monday's crash, 14-year-old Alessandra Piovesano of Milan, was in critical condition today with broken legs, a fractured pelvis and internal injuries, Doctors said her chances of survival were poor. Authorities first believed the disaster was caused by a sudden jamming of the drawing cable that pulls the car along the support cable. But experts said today the support cable actually snapped in two. "The supporting cable snapped," said Arluro Tanesini, the engineer who built the cable- way in 1966. National police said eight of the victims were Italians and the remainder were believed to be West Germans, Austrians and possibly Dutchmen. Deofh fist grows in Arkansas blast CAMDEN,Ark.(UPI)-One of three persons critically injured In Monday's explosions at a munitions plant died Tuesday night, raising the death toll to five. The latest victim was identified as Shirley Kelly, 29, of Camden. The fourth victim of the series of explosions that ripped through the plant -- a 63-year- old woman -- was found crushed to death Tuesday beneath the rubble of an 80-ton concrete wall. Two other persons remain in critical condition from injuries suffered in the blast. LADIES' DRESSES NO LIMIT Beautifully drycleaned and Expertly Pressed This coupon must be surrendered with incoming garments. 59! nisd»p«i April 4 TOP COATS CAR COATS I NO LIMIT I Beautifully Drycleaned . and Expertly Pressed 1 This coupon must be surrendered I with incoming garments. $ 1 99! Valid Throufh Apiil4 I PLAIN SWEATERS SKIRTS NO LIMIT Beautifully Drycleaned V«/ [Beautifully Drycleaned and expertly Pressed mu ,^ land Expertly Pressed m, CH*,. This coupon must be surrendered vnid TUxniih |This coupon must be surrendered YjIM Iti-rajh with incoming garments. «p,,]4 jwith incoming garments. Ml* 69* SLACKS MEN'S-LADIES' NO LIMIT 79*! 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