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Stanrigg Mining Disaster

9th July 1918

"reproduced with permission from Scottish Mining Villages"

Mine Accident at Airdrie - 19 workmen entombed An alarming pit accident by which 19 miners were entombed occurred at Stanrigg Colliery, near Airdrie

Over 70 men were in the pit when the moss above the workings subsided into the hump section. With the exception of 19 they managed to escape to the surface. A rescue party from Coatbridge was summoned, and operations were at once begun to try and reach the imprisoned miners. The moss-slip affected an area of about one acre. The moving mass filled up the roads in the pit, cutting off the escape of the men. The rescue party set to work immediately on arrival to bore through, so that they might get into communication with the entombed men and pass food to them. Subsequently an attempt was begun to reach them by sinking a shaft through the moss, but up till midnight it had not succeeded. The pit is situated in a desolate region in the in the hills amongst the moors.

The Entombed Men The men entombed reside in villages in the vicinity of the pit. Their names and addresses are:-

David M'Niven (17), Baird Square, Rawyards; Wm. Marshall (33), Greengairs; Alex. Park (50), Greengairs; John Sneddon (34), Greengairs; James Sneddon (14), Greengairs; Bernard M'Adams (18), Greengairs; Lesley Gilchrist (15), Wattstown; Alex. Gilchrist (30) Wattstown; Wm. Gilchrist (35), Wattstown; Wm. Campbell (38), Plains; Geo. Templeton (36), Meadowhead; Robt. Campbell (32), Meadowhead; Wm. Williamson (44), Plains; Robt. Pollock, sen. (43), Caldercruix; Robt. Pollock, jun. (17), Caldercruix; John Queen (60), Darngavil; Neil Lindsay (16), Longriggend; Wm. Bradie (47), Whiterigg; Robt. Bradie (18), Whiterigg.  [ Glasgow Herald, July 10 1918 ]

The Pit Accident at Airdrie- Feared Loss of 19 Lives The 19 miners who failed to escape from the pit at Stanrigg Colliery, in which there was a heavy subsidence on Tuesday, still remain entombed in the mine. The borings which were made yesterday with a view to establishing communication with the men revealed that there is water and black damp in the vicinity of the coal face at which the squad were engaged. The hopes which were at first entertained that the men might be extricated alive have therefore diminished. Great difficulty is experienced in the cutting and boring operations which are carried on with the object of reaching the isolated section of the pit, and the rescue workers are not very sanguine of an early completion of their task. From the slow progress made up till last night the possibility has to be recognised that it may take several days to clear a way to the damaged portion of the mine.

Stanrigg Colliery, which is owned by Messrs M'Cracken Bros., is situated on moorland about three miles from Airdrie. The mossy surface, saturated by the recent heavy rainfall, is soft and bog-like at the part where the subsidence occurred. The ground has sunk perceptibly over an area about an acre in extent, and is broken by numerous fissures. The section of the pit affected is at the eastern extremity of the colliery. The workings at this point are on a higher level than any of the other seams, the distance below the surface being about 11 fathoms. The men who were at work on an adjacent but lower seam succeeded in making their escape, but every one of the miners in the hump section, as it is called, was evidently trapped by the fall of moss. The squad at full strength would have numbered 22, but three of the men were absent. One of the miners who escaped stated that he had passed near the hump section about 10 minutes before the accident happened. As he was going back again towards it he met a draw-man running toward the shaft, shouting "The moss, the moss." He saw the moss streaming down into the roadway, and ran for the pit shaft commonly used by the men. Seven of the miners got up by that shaft. The others had to make their escape by the outlet or emergency shaft farther west. Over 70 men were in the pit at the time of the accident, which took place about half past ten in the forenoon. If the men in the hump section were not overwhelmed by the subsidence they were completely cut off by it from exit by either of the shafts, the mass of soil blocking up the only roadway they could use.

Three separate methods of trying to reach the entombed men have been adopted. Borings have been made with the view of getting into speaking communication with them and passing down food, and an attempt has been made to sink a shaft immediately above the seam. In both these undertakings the results yesterday were disappointing, the soil being too marshy and unstable for the sinking of a shaft, while the boring, as stated, indicated the presence of gas and water in the workings. The other course followed, and the one which offers most encouragement, is that of driving a roadway from the main shaft by way of a disused working. The rescue party are working in relays, and the operations are going on continuously. [ Glasgow Herald July 11 1918 ]

Last night all hope of recovering the men entombed in Stanrigg pit, near Airdrie, was officially given up when the bore, which was being driven through the face, was finished about 6 o'clock. It was found, as was anticipated, that there was the depth of 8 foot 9 inches of water, which proved there could be no chance of any of the men being still alive. Those in authority discussed the question of attempting to recover the bodies, and Mr Walker, his Majesty's Inspector of Mines, decided that a regular shaft should be sunk as soon suitable arrangements could be made. [ Scotsman July 12 1918 ]

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