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Image 2 of Mountain eagle (Whitesburg, Ky.), July 22, 1971

Part of Mountain eagle (Whitesburg, Ky.)

THE MOUNTAIN EAGLE . . W . HIT ESBUR G. LETCHER C0UNTY. KENTUCKY JBBBBEPS? B t MB m .id an W . A VOLUNTEER RESCUE BBaV. : B-Bk- B B a WORKER Bet. HeW. B - . . THURSDAY. am AT THE 1IILMAR MINE IN CLAY COUNTY drives a buggy loaded with roof support timbers into the mine where three men lay crushed under tons of rock. The seam at the point of the fall was about 33 inches, rescue workers said. curred about 15 feet from the face of the mine. There are still conflicting reports as to just who was in the mine at the time, and who was trapped when, but there is agreement on one point: Harris had been able to free himself, but went back the falling rock in an effort to save his fellow miners, lie got pinned by the second fall, and crushed by the third. Mine foreman Ernest llorton was inside at the time too, and also assisted with the rescue attempt in the frenzied moments while the disaster was in the process of happening. "1 had my hand on him, right up against him, " llorton recalled while rescue teams were venturing into the mine Friday night. "But then that second fall come and I just had to 1 et go of his hand. " Horton suffered an injured arm in the process, but stayed throughout the long night offering assistance to the many volunteer rescue workers who made their way up the car and spectator cluttered road leading to the Hilmar mine in the Hazard No. 4 seam. A quick consensus was informally reached that the tragedy was probably caused by a "hill seam, " which one state official compared to "a crack in the plaster coming down your ceiling. " The men were working close to the surface at the time of the tragedy, where such seams are relatively common. Leslie But mine Marcum, also present, insisted " that he had taken more than just the necessary precautions" to guard against such a disaster. "It's just one of those things, " he said. "Just one of those things that can happen. " He said he had been in complete compliance with both federal and state safety laws. Further, he said, he had been cited only "for minor violations. " The mine even had "an extra row of roof-- bolts" to offer added protection against what he admitted was "loose shale" on the inside. co-ow- Br-i- V l BS"ffB9BBM yv BbjH jOPbBBBbB WSMm JBBBBBBBBUBBUfSBBBBBBBBBBBl ''BSjBBflBnlls ! , ERNEST HORTON, JULY 22, 1971. . Miners killed . . . (from Page IN THE MIDST OF TRAGEDY . . . B . WHOSE ARM WAS HURT AS HE TRIED TO SAVE SOME of his fellow miners trapped by the fall, was at the scene during recovery operations. Wearing a cast, he discusses the mine with other miners. (MOUNTAIN 1) Marcum and Horton stayed together a lot during the long night, talking in soft, weary tones about the whole thing. "They was fine young boys, " Horton said of the men. Were they inexperienced, maybe thus triggering the accident? "Absolutely not, " Marcum insisted, with Horton still-trapp- ed including , knew there was no hope by the time midnight rolled around. But the bodies were not to be hauled out until much later. Speculation began on the spot: Was this a death-tra- p mine? Could the owners have done more in the way of safety? Were the men careless? Had Bureau of Mine inspectors once again been negligent? "Why, there was a federal inspector here right this morning, " Horton told a Mountain Eagle reporter. Federal inspectors said that their man who might have been there that morning was just an Most everyone, relatives of the men electrical inspec- tor, who wouldn't have gone underground anyway. Towards the end of this week, federal and state teams were still preparing their final reports. However, it was clear that somehow, roof support procedures were not sufficient. Whether that was because of sloppiness, and whose, was still not known. It made and makes little difference to a lot of people in Clay County at the moment, however. Lester Harris dred last December in an explosion at ihe Finley 15-1-6 mine not so far away. His wife and cither wives of men killed then were helping out the new mine tragedy victims Friday night. "We have to do something about all this, " Mrs. Edith Harris said. "It all brings back some fresh memories. What do the young people in Clay County and all around here have to look forward to? Things like this?" she asked. "We just have to do something about this, " she repeated. PRIMACK THE MOUNTAIN EAGLE is published every Thursday at 120 W. Main Street, Whitesburg, Letcher County, Kentucky, 41858. Thomas E. Gish is the editor and publisher. Second class postage paid at Whitesburg, Kentucky. Subscription rates, $5 a year in Kentucky, 17 a year outside Kentucky. Single copies, 15 cents each. This is number 11 of Volume 64. EAGLf PHOTOS1 jj Wm j ' Bflk BB BBk lLm 'BBbmH1 bbbI ,tBBBBBBfiiHfiii9iBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB ' , ssBBBBBBBBKSiaflBBBaBBBBBBflilBBBB: JBBBBBH jB 2 . bbbbbbbbbbbbH Bfl ikBBBfl AS HOPE FOR THE TRAPPED MEN FADED IN THE LONG NIGHT, relatives and friends of the dead miners huddled together near the drlftmouth. MINE LESLIE MARCUM

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