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THE NEWCASTLE MINIG DISASTER

A terrible ooliloiy uiaaatet took place at the Auatcaliaa Agricultural Oumpany's glebe pit, near Newotaile, on Saturday, June 22. It appaara that a large area of this coal mine has bean worked out, aud a number of men were eugiged m inking down the coal pilla:s, puuiug up the mils, and removing timbers. Fur a day or two before the dis&ster happened, ominous sounds had been beard m the mine, showing that the strain of tho overhanging mass was becoming too great fur the weakened supports to bear, but the old hands seemed to be of opinion that there was plenty of time to fi-jiah the work of stripping before any aerloaa riangec was to de apprehended. At breakfast lime on Saturday the noises were so threatening chat several men left the workings iv alarm, bat the majority preferred to risk their lives rather man ioae their wagos. Only a few minutes af lee the younger men had Again consulted the old bands as to cue impending danger tbe crash came. With a deafening roar, »a of a mighty earthquake, tbe roof and sldea of a Urge aeotlou of the mine fell iv, Taere were between thirty and forty men working m toe seotlou, end of tbeao eleven were entemped. The others eacapad m a mirveUoua manuer. Toe ruau of air blew their lighta out, and they gcoped about, foe two hours m ihe darkness, ainldsi falling rooks, before they vreru found by a rescuing party, whioa had Ventured dowu and repalr^a a portion of ttio main drive euffio ently to »dvano4 towaros tbe portion of tbe miue where tho oojlapie bad caken place. One mau m making u:a way ou( v?«a kuooked down by a piece of rook whtoh fell on Mm. Ha was able to got up and continue his jouruoy \ buc a oomp»ulon who was foliuwing him was seen ao more, and tt is feared be h»a been killed. Another party heard a mau groaning iv a ■ drive, but were v a able to get near him. The rescue party were at the time the mail left ailil at work, aud there was hope ihat acv;rd' more uf the lmprlaoned mloera migdt be rescued alive, as the aic was good. Some of the mm who eaoaped from the pit aad remarkable experleao.s. Edward Sullivan, a mluer, who waa working m Martlu'a heading at the time the roof oollapsed, m company with William Youug, heard tbe fail, and with his m%te rmhtd out and ran alcng the heading uutil be waa knocked down and held fuse by the leg by the fallen debria. Ha was extricated by hia mate, and they then ofawlad aloig over tbe fallen rook and coal until they reached the other worklnge, where they nut. Jib z Robarfce, a very old miner, who was badly hurt. Tbey stayed with h rn a little time, and while following him us he crawled along m the dark, stumbled »<o:oss a coat lyinpr on the ground, whlon fortunately oonfiloed a box of ma'ohes SuJiivau and hia companions were ineplred with great hopes by this pleoo of good fortune, aud the feallnps of despair, to which they had previously begun to give way, aa they tj roped about aimlessly In the dense gloom, were to a Urge extant dispelled. Wheu lighted the match dholoaad to view two lamps a few feot away. Sullivan aud V uag then started (If m their aearoh for light and air ; while Roberts, finding that he was too weak to follow them, stayed behind- Tho old man was bleedlag very badly, but his moee fortunatea ma tea mad i him as aomforUble as possible bßfore they left him, with a bottle ' f te>|»3 some small comfort ia his terrible lonelin as, Tha two n.en, on Btartlng off, took allghtly diffjreot directions, aud Sullivan, before goiug far, heard a ory for help, and found young Pe»te completely buried, an.l bsyond roaoh of auoh I •aaistdoos as he ould give slogle-handed. Leaving the uofortucate lad with a pcoml.»e th»t he would oomo back to his aid, if he oould possibly find hia way out, he went on ohmberlng over various falls, but it lsst fou:»d hlmaelf ojmpletely blocked, and had to tura back, lie found his mate and five others m the por;ion of the mine kuowu aa the, flat, from whloi they knocked a bole through the stopiog, and gradually worked thoir way, after maob blind wmderiog abou'., until they reached the spot At which they were heard by tha relief parly and Were rescued. Two other miners, named Duncan and M'Drugall, who w«^re workiug m Uayes'a heading, »fter rauoh ssrambiiog about over falls, and experiencing many narrow escapes Id tne darkness, found their way on to the fl»t, and eveomlly escaped with Young, dulllvan, snd others. Tnese men state that one of their nntes, named Masson, was caaght m the fall, and they also say that th i y attempted to extr c»te John Peato, but had to give up the task aj beyond their power. The whole of theaa suven men, who met on tie nY, *n i eveutually found their «ay out of tbe mine togother, undoubted y owe their lives to the fortunate discovery of the matoheß and lambs by Sullivan and Young. Too men seemed to la'e found r,n»it w«y loto the old homo traak, which was oloßod many years ago, and, after breaking through portions that wore dosed op, they gradually workad their w»y into the main drive of the old borehole pit. This 'olroaUons route of upwards of three tulle* took them round one side of the portion of the mlno which had collapsed, and after they had made their escape one 'of the reaoue parties tried to get round by the same way to the further side of the full ; but it was found that nothing oould bo done, owing to the blocking of tho crosscut section of tbe mine. — Sydney 'correspondent, Duuedin ''^Vanlng Star."

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THE NEWCASTLE MINIG DISASTER Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2164, 4 July 1889

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