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The Accident in a Scotch Quarry.

A ferrible disaster on Saturday (28th September) befel a large party of visitors to the Orarae Quarries, on Loch Fyne, For a nnrqber of years there baa been annually a great blast at the quarries, the quantity of gimpowder exploded increasing from about three tons to abont six tonß, the quantity that has been used ©a the more recent occasions. On Saturday the members of the Glasgow Corporation having been, as usual, invited to be present, many of them, accompanied by their wives and othyr members of their families, and a large number of the general public, left the city iu the morning on board the Clyde steamer Lord of the Isles, for the quarrieß. The company numbered up,«s wards of a thousand. The quarries are situated on the faoeof a hill, which riaea almost perpendicularly from the edge of the loch to a height of about 150 feet. The blast is prepared by a chamber being bored in the face of a rook at a distance of thirty feet from the water level, and extending inwards for sixty feet, with branch cha.ra,' beis o£ twenty feet each in length to. the left and right, starting from the inn,ermass point of tbe main chamber^ These cavities a,re filled, with the charge, which is exploded by electricity. The Bteamer arrived off the quarries shortly after ona o'olock, and was brought up just witbia a mile from ths shcre. The Bignal for tbe explosion was given by tha steamer sounding her steam whistle. The charge was immediately firedj Vi ftni in less than a minute the whole racVoE the quarry heaved outwardp, between aixty and seventy thousand tonß of rock being dislodged, and tha operation proving one o,f the mQat success* ful that has ever been performed. The smoke having somewhat cleared away, the steamer was takon a little nearer the shore, and those of the passengers who desired to do so were allowed to land in boats for the purpose of examining tha results of the blast. About three hundred pareoDß, many of them being ladies, availed themselves of lao opportunity, and were landed upon tbe beach. When the company assembled on the beach they; immediately proceeded to the quarry, accompanied by tho lessees aad m^nagsr,' '111 -so gentlemen explained the nature and extent of the operation carried oc at Crarae. The company entered tho quarry, which has interiorly the shape of a horseshoe. Before many raiautes had elapsed members of the party at all poiata seemed suddenly, and in the midst of the most animated conversation, to be overpowered by after damp, ao^ they fell motionless to the ground among the stones. Tho officials, realizing that the catastrophe was due to cbokc-danap, calletl to the visitors to run ; but the general oongternatiaq the warning was either rxpi unae?stoa,d by rnany^ or they found them-, selves powerless to acrupon it. For some minutes people continnad to fall, most of them without uttering a cry, and to lie uppn the ground to all appearance as if dead. In this way, in the course of a few minutes, from eighty to a hundred persona were prostrated. Tbe workmen soon came to the rescue, ' and these, with many of the gentleman of the party, risked their lives in rushing into the enploaure and carrying out into the open air those who had beea overpowered by the deadly fumes. It Wig at once ascertained that sis gentlemen we»i $i*eady dead, and that"' from 20 to SO other ;peraori/? s including ladies and young people, were in a critical condition. From forty to fifty others were more or less «ijEocto<2 but; *tlxoi39 spQecSilv" getv« slg-oa ©£ returning consciousness on being brqught down to the boaoh, 7tors M fca^

•everal medical men do board the steamer three or four of whom had landed, and these exerted themselves to] the utmost tc restore the viotiais to oooacioasnecis. A long time was occupied in gettipg tb< injured and dead transferred to the steamer bat the melancholy task having been performed, the vessel started ior Greenook, . and, being one of the fastest on the Clyde, the journey was performed with marvel* loos rapidity, With tbe increaaQd pa«dioal rtaff >pw given to the more serious i cases, many of which stil|fßhowed no signs of recovery. Others revivfed with the fresh breeze from the Jocbj^d ;by the time] fljreenock wag reached quite a number i 61^ythe : victims were in a hopeful Btate. ; Greenock was reacted between Beven and eight o'clock, and the authorities having been communicated ;wUh^b£| telegraph, a number of ambulance waggons were in waiting at the ; ■ pier. „,/;■ ;..;..■ \.t " ■■■■■'" An account by an eye-witness of the disaster sayo— Many persons did not "hear the warning, and betore the word conld be passed* found a number of ladiss and Sentleraen^were dropping do *n in ali factions, first on their handstand then on their knees. Great consternation was created by cries on all sides : (i We are choking^ Help, help." ,1 was so overcotne by' the: sulphurous fumes that I dropped' down: and was aided by some friends who lifted me away . They toH me afterwards that I became insensible. In a short time I was able te look round abon t, wd^tojnjy^ horror I observed ladies and gentlemen J>eing helped to the beach. The public funeral of Bailie Young and Councillor Duncan, who perished in the Crarae colliery disaster, took place at Glasgow^pn, 28th September, and was attended by some four. thousand persons. Among those present: were the L<)rd Provost, the magistrates; the town council, and a large number of brethren of the Autsient Order of Ftp-esters, of which both deceased gentlemen; were members. The company assembled; in St. George's Church, and after a religions service the cortege, headed by a body of police and a band, proceeded to the Southern Necropolis, where the interment took place. Sixty private carriages were in the procession, which presented an imposing spectacle as it passed through the crowded streets amid the tolling of the church belle.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ST18861117.2.16

Bibliographic details

The Accident in a Scotch Quarry., Southland Times, Issue 9377, 17 November 1886

Word Count
1,006

The Accident in a Scotch Quarry. Southland Times, Issue 9377, 17 November 1886

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