Many colliers died from entombment, following
roof falls and explosions. Many found themselves trapped and cut off from
rescuers with no hope of being saved. In some pits, harrowing messages were
left to their loved ones from doomed miners, probably written as close to
death as you could get.
An entombment may have occurred at Stonetrough
Colliery at Harriseahead in 1844, but for the heroics and perseverance of
rescue workers. When colliers breached old workings, there was a massive fall
of waste and material. All but one man were able to scamper clear, the collier
being trapped under tons of coal and debris.
A team of doughty rescuers "descended
into the pit, and commenced operations, rendered very difficult from the quantity
of carbonic acid gas which escaped from the old workings, and dangerous from
the loose state of the material which had fallen.
After two hours hard labour, and the removal of upwards of one hundred
tons of rubbish, they discovered the object of their search alive; but, just
as they were freeing the lower part of his body, a second fall took place,
burying three of the men.
After some time they were rescued, very little injured, and a second time
the trapped miner was approached, when again a heavy fall took place. Fresh
hands were then called in, the former being exhausted, and after a period
of six hours from the first fall, success crowned their exertions, and the
man was restored to his friends with a few slight bruises, and one leg not
very severely crushed....
The greatest excitement prevailed during the period in which the exertions
were being made for the recovery of the sufferer, and the pit bank was crowded
with anxious spectators, all desirous of rendering any assistance in their
power. The Rev. R. Goldham... had the gratification of accompanying home,
and restoring to his parents, the poor fellow so wonderfully preserved from
distruction, and who is one of a family of sixteen, all living, as well as
both parents - the father, as also ten of his sons being working colliers.