Twenty-three lives lost in a colliery.
--On the 11th inst., a fearful catastrophe occurred at a colliery at Clay Cross, near Chesterfield, England
The pit is about one hundred and sixty yards deep and adjoins an old shaft which has not been worked for some years.
Some of the stalls have been extended near the old water pit, and on the 11th Natty Dawes
, a collier, with a view to ascertain how near he was to the old water pit, picked at the side of his stall.
In a few moments a hole was made the size of his pick handle and the water commenced to rush in. There were about three hundred workmen in the colliery at the time, and Dawes
gave the alarm for them to escape, the water rushing in with increased rapidity.
The men knew that there was no hope of escape from the pursuing and rapidly rising water, except through the pit shaft, and as this is the lowest part of the working, their fears were doubled by the knowledge of the fact that the water rising would soon block up the exit and leave them in the high workings, if not to be slowly drowned, at least with the alternative, quite as terrible, of death by suffocation.
The alarm was communicated to the men on the bank, and every effort was employed to save the unfortunate victims.
Several of the men were rescued, but about six o'clock there was no longer any hope of saving any more fives.
The rush of water was continuing toward the bottom of the shaft, and as the last man swam or floated to the chair which was waiting to draw up the last load, he perceived that the stoppage of air was already severe, and that a fearful accumulation of sulphur had already commenced.
There were employed in the pit three hundred men and sixty-five horses.
All were rescued except twenty men, three boys and the horses.
Before the flow of water could be stopped the pit was entirely filled.