July 26, 2017

Fifteen Years Ago

Fifteen years ago, a life-and-death drama was playing out in the Southwestern Pennsylvania coal fields. On Wednesday, July 24, 2002, nine coal miners were trapped in the Quecreek Mine when they broke through a wall that allowed massive amounts of water to flood the mine, barring their escape. Rescue efforts were begun immediately, although it could not be known whether the miners were alive or dead.

Coal miner
News of the accident and  attempted rescue was broadcast worldwide. Nowhere was the coverage more extensive than in Pittsburgh, the major market closest to the flooded mine. I spent several tense days checking often on the progress of the effort to reached the trapped miners. I went to bed hopeful on Saturday night and woke up Sunday morning to the news that all nine miners had been rescued and were, as they say, in good shape for the shape they were in. What could have been a tragic accident had a very happy ending.

The Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation will be celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the events in Somerset County over the next few days.

The anniversary also seems to be a good time to call attention to my poem about the accident and rescue, “The Quecreek Mine Disaster.” I was very moved by what happened fifteen years ago and sought to tell the story in verse. Here is a sample verse:
On Thursday afternoon, the big rig came
To drill a shaft a rescue cage could thread;
That job would take a half a day or more
To reach the barely living or the dead.
Rereading the poem, I think I did a fair job of conveying the anxiety and anticipation of those three days in 2002. See if you don’t agree.

1 comment:

  1. This event will be a great chocie for many people who had faced many accidnet scenarios in their life. A must visit event it should be. Great share.


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