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 Post subject: Mine Rescue Mirrors Sheppton Incident
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:44 am 
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Mine Rescue Mirrors Sheppton Incident

By JIM DINO
POTTSVILLE REPUBLICAN & HERALD
October 13, 2010

The rescue of 33 miners trapped in a gold and copper mine in Chile for almost two months is following a procedure developed for the famous rescue of David Fellin and Henry Throne from a mine near Sheppton in 1963.

Joe Sando, who at the time was employed by the Sullivan Trail Coal Co., said the team he worked with was the first to use the method of drilling boreholes down a mine shaft and inserting a microphone to determine whether trapped miners were alive.

"I think the idea came from the Department of Mines," Sando said.

What helped the Sheppton rescue team find the exact spot where Fellin and Throne were located was family members who knew the layout of the mine, and where the men might have gone for sanctuary.

"Davey Fellin's wife, brother and sister knew the mine, and where they would be in that shaft," Sando remembered. "We used a 6-inch drill at first. We had drilled five or six holes, and didn't make contact. We were going to drill one more, and his brother, Joe, was tapping his foot and said, 'Drill it right here.' We did, and we found them in a cavern."

Fellin, the co-owner of the small mine, had no plans to mine that day. He had gone into the mine to show Throne and Louis Bova - the only man to die in the Sheppton disaster - what he wanted done that day.

After helping them load the first car, Fellin and the men heard rumblings and were able to take refuge in the cavern when the mine collapsed.

Once they were found, a larger hole was drilled, and the men brought to the surface.

Unlike the situation in Chile - where the miners were trapped in what amounts to a large room - Fellin and Throne were trapped in a 3-by-5-foot space.

"Back then, there wasn't much chance to rescue them," local dancing teacher Faberge, Fellin's niece, said. "Imagine being entombed in an area smaller than a bathroom for over a week. There had to be a feeling of hopelessness."

Today, the Chileans have technology at their disposal.

"There is safety in numbers. That's a big difference," she said.

Aside from using the same method of finding the trapped miners, the two disasters had other similarities.

One similarity between the two disasters is that they were both collapses rather than explosions. They also happened within days of each other, almost 50 years apart. Fellin and Throne were trapped Aug. 18, and the 33 Chilean miners were trapped Aug. 5.

Fellin and Throne were trapped some 300 feet below the surface, while the Chilean miners are trapped about 230 feet down.

The similarities end there.

The local duo was freed after just 10 days, while the Chilean miners are going to set a record for the amount of time they have been underground.

While the Chilean men are being brought up in custom-made, 13-foot steel encasings, Throne and Fellin were brought to the surface in parachute harnesses and football helmets.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 5:17 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Ontario, Ca
Most of you guys here are too young to remember the sheppton thing. I can barely recall watching it as a kid and marvelling at how they got them out.

IIRC, from then on I didn't understand why men died during future accidents. after all, they got the sheppton guys out.

chilean guys were really lucky. exceptions rather than the rule.


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