Visnews filmed Jan 22 miners escaping at the surface of the flooded Wilkes Barre coal mine, near Pittston, Pennsylvania.
Visnews filmed Jan 22 miners escaping at the surface of the flooded Wilkes Barre coal mine, near Pittston, Pennsylvania. Twelve miners were feared dead below.
Disaster struck when the rain-swollen Susquehanna River broke through a tunnel of the mine Jan 21. There was no warning. Rescue workers working through the night were impeded by the flood waters choking the mine. Mine officials and anxious families waited as survivors reached the surface.
Said one miner: "We never heard the water come in. It was just there." Forty-five miners were known to be in the shaft. Thirty-three escaped. Seven got out by climbing an air shaft hundreds of yards from the flooded tunnel.
A rescue crew found twenty-six men wandering through the maze of tunnels - and they were waist-deep in water. One by one, the men came to the surface. Some collapsed from exhaustion. Women cried as they recognized the faces of their husbands and sons. Others sobbed for those who failed to come up.
Rescue workers were trying to stop the flow of water into the mine, to reach the twelve miners trapped. Mine officials feared the water would bar the access to them for 48 hours.