Brave Rescue by Colliers

February 1906

Mexborough & Swinton Times Feb 10th 1906

Brave Rescue by Colliers

Cadeby Main Colliery on Friday February 10th 1906, was the scene of a particularly brave rescue by colliers, under circumstances of great difficulty.

A collier named Albert Maycock, about ten o´clock in the morning was engaged in building a `pack´ to support the roof where the coal had been taken out, when a fall of several tons of roof occurred, completely burying him. The noise of the fall quickly brought his mates on the scene, but Maycock was completely hidden from sight, and as shouts failed to evoke any response, it was feared he was dead. The bare chance of saving his life, however, was sufficient to induce the men to attempt a rescue, and they commenced the terrible task of digging out their comrade without delay.

Eli Croxall, the deputy of the district, arrived on the spot soon after the accident and directed rescue operations.

The whole place where the accident occurred was on `weight´, a technicality which meant it was on the verge of falling in, and the rescuers worked at a tremendous risk to themselves, not only of a further fall of roof, but of the banks on either side of the fall which had already occurred, toppling over on top of them. Before any attempt could be made to remove the fallen mass of debris the roof had to be timbered, and the sides shored up, but even with these precautions, while the rescuers worked, they were only just in time to escape being crushed themselves by small falls of roof.

It was well into the afternoon before the rescuers were in a position to begin to remove the debris. Then a muffled shout was heard informing them that Maycock was still alive, and their exertions on his behalf were re-doubled. All the rescuers should have gone out of the pit at two o´clock, the finish of the morning shift, but they worked until four fifteen in the afternoon, when they succeeded in reaching their comrade, whom they got out alive and comparatively uninjured, notwithstanding he had been buried by ten tons of rock and rubbish.

His providential escape was due in fact to a large stone, weighing itself nearly a ton, falling across some timbers, and preventing the remaining debris from crushing him when he was knocked down.

His legs which were bruised, but not broken, had been pinned down under the stone, which in some measure also enabled the air to get to him during the six hours of his imprisonment. He was conscious all the time, and was able to hear the progress of the operations made by his mates for the rescue.

Mr. H.S. Witty, the manager of Cadeby Main Colliery, in describing the rescue to our representative, said if ever there was a case of heroic behaviour in the mines, this was one, as the rescuers held their lives in their hands during the whole time they were working to clear away the tons of continually falling debris, and it was not until they had taken these terrible risks for several hours that they were sure whether the man they were striving to rescue was alive or dead.