A Story of the Pit.
A HEROIC MINER. Official reports do not often furnish so striking and pathetic a scene as that which is described by Mr Pinching, the Inspector of Mines, m his narrative of the rescue of the two men Rule and Bent, entombed m the Drakewalls Mine at Gunnislake. Four days and a half elapsed since the imprisoned men were suddenly cut off by a vast rush of shifting sand into the "winze" from all communication with the outward world. No attempt to reach them through this treacherous medium waa practicable ; the only h»p« lay m boring a level through the solid ground and blasting step by step with small charges of dynamite, the gas from which almost suffocated the workers. It was at ten m the morning on luesday that the accident happened ; and it was at ten m the morning on the Saturday following that, on sounding m the usual way, the relief party was overjoyed to hear a shout m return. "The scene," J said Mr Pinching, " was one I can never forget. Strong men, many of whom had been m rough mining camps m all parts of the world, fell laughing and crying alternately with emotion like children.' They worked no«r. if possible, with greater vigour. Eleven more weary hours passed ; they had bored what was expected to be the last hole ; the charge of dynamite was inserted; the warning cry "Fire" was heard, and the men trooped up to get out of the way of " the shot." After five minutes of agonising suspense they heard the muffled report, and knew by certain tokens that communication had been effected without causing the inrush of sand which was the danger that had been haunting the minds of all. Going down to the place they found a current of air established, and could hear the poor fellows below calling to their comrades. Still the relief party dared not move lest j; it should fall upon the entombed men ; | but a light was ultimately lot down, Then came the most perilous task of all. which was that of descending through the shattered mass, any fragment of which might, if touched, fall and crush the explorers: Eighteen fathoms was the depth to be descended m this dismal way by the aid of ropes and windlass, but the pitman, Tom Jhapman, who during the operation had once vvoiked ninety hours on a stretch, volunteered, after due warning, to make the descent. "We then," continues this exciting narrative, "slung him and dropped him over the winze, and amidsi, dead silence, he examined the place. Shortly we heard the welcome signal to ' streak,' or lower, and then knew that ho' was on his path of rescue. On arriving at the bottom ho safely slung both the men, one after the other, and then came up himself. After being congratulated by their friends, and fed with soup and beeftea, they were all gob to the surface, and at midnight on Saturday every man was out of the mine." Mr Pinching adds that several communications have been made to him respecting Chapman's conduct, and it has been suggested that if it were brought to the notice of the Queen, Her Majesty might be inclined to bestow some mark of her fuvor "upon such a deserving subject."
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A Story of the Pit., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2518, 15 September 1890
A Story of the Pit. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2518, 15 September 1890
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