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1jr JaUDon CorrEspcmurnl.!

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APPALLING COLLIERY EXPLOSION AND LOSS OF LIFE. One of those frightful explosions which have visited the county of Durham, though, fortunately, not within recent years, in common with others abounding in mines, &c., occurred at Burradon Colliery, situated about a mile from Killingworth station, on the North Eastern .Railway, on Friday afternooa. The colliery is an,old pit on the WalFs-end group, and formerly belonged to Lord Ravensworth and partners, who were knovyn, a,s the Grand Allies." There are-many miles of workings in the pit, and a considerable quan- tity of the main seam being exhausted, the "broken -i.e., the large pillars of coal that have been left after exhausting the sections of the, main—is being wrought in a part of the pit. The pit is in the low main, and there is little difference of opinion that it has a some- what fiery and dangerous character; at any rate, the pitmen allege that to be the case. INCIDENTS OF THE EXPLOSION. The gas appears to have formed in the "whole or solid workings. At about half past one on Friday afternoon a slight explosion was observed in the straight-up flat," in the "whole," or unbroken'coal. Two lads,, hewers, named Alleh, were alarmed by the concussion' of the first explosion, and ran down the incline towards the ppint at which it joins the principal air-way, and took shelter in a cabin where the lamps, &c., are kept. Here they were spoken to by the back overman," William Alderson, who, thinking thattlie danger was past, urged them: to return, but they refused, and the overman, press the same request upon the men_ engaged- further up to the east of the incline. In his way he met another boy, named Urwin, running, and in vain persuaded, him to re.turn: Scarcely had he left Urwin when a second explosion took place, and one of the Aliens was struck by a stone driven along by the force of the tremendous blasts in the 'roadway, which destroyed the machinery and waggons with which it came in contact. jg'- PANIC IN THE MINE.. Alderson, after hearing the first explosion, had run back about 500 yards, when he encountered the second blast near the incline, and appears to have been killed on the spot. The interval between the first and second explosion seems to have been about three minutes. The men working in the opposite direction from where the first explosion occurred felt its effects by the disthrb- ance of the air, but as it was not violent they did not feel much alarmed; the lads, however, who are sooner frightened than the men, as soon as they beard the explosion, made off to the shaft from all parts in the pit, and many of them were saved by escaping to bank as speedily as possible. The second explosion was too violent in its force to induce the men above described to hesitate for a moment, and they made towards the shaft, but they had not got far when they encountered the dreadful choke-damp, but being men of experience, and having a thorough knowledge of the pit, they escaped to the shaft with their lives. HOW THE MOURNFUL NEWS SPREAD. The shock of the explosion was felt at the downcast shaft and at bank, and the appalling intelligence was in a few moments spread through the village and among the pit cottages, messengers were sent off to the neigh- bouring collieries for help, and men galloped in every direction for surgeons. An awful wail arose in the cottages belonging to the men down the- pit as the in- telligence reached their families, and then women and children flocked, to the pit-mouth, where a frightful scene ensued as the men and lads who had escaped were brought to bank. The deputies and overmen who were not down in the pit forthwith commenced making efforts to rescue those who were known to be in the pit. They met some of the men escaping from the cross-cut, or long air-way; but, persevering so far as the after-damp and sulphurous vapour would permit, penetrated nearly to the plane at the top of the in- cline. To do this they had to take in with them brattice, or thin planks of wood, to stop up certain openings, and so to force the current of fresh air from the pit shaft to accompany them. PREPARATIONS FOR THE RESCUE. In the meantime viewers, overmen, and pitmen, arrived from the neighbouring collieries, and with calm heroism they prepared to descend into what might prove to them their tomb surgeons were in attendance at the bank for any emergency and the noble band of brave men proceeded on their mission of humanity. Then commenced the melancholy task of collecting the dead bodies for the purpose of bringing them to bank. Those that were near the bottom of the shaft were soon gathered together; they were then enveloped in a blanket, which was fastened in such a manner, by means of cords, that the outward form of humanity was preserved; and in this state they were put into the cage and conveyed to the world above, which they had left in the full enjoyment of health but a few hours previously. Two men accompanied each body as it was brought to bank, and the name of the dead, when it had been ascertained, was announced to the crowd m a low tone, and. it was then conveyed from man to man of the many hundreds who stood for hours almost silent spectators of the ghastly proceedings. The sight was indeed one calculated to inspire the most melan- choly feeling. Everywhere, and in everybody's face, there was gloom, intensely deepened as the carts con- veyed the dead bodies one by one, to the houses of their friends, just as they were recognised. Altogether upwards, of seventy persons perished. GOOD MEN HURRIED INTO ETBRNITY. The secretary of the Miners' Provident Association (William Urwin) was amongst those who have been struck down. With great natural ability, he conducted the correspondence in a most unexceptional manner, and manifested a comprehension of actual data and arithmetical calculations which was astonishing'. He was a prudent and cautious adviser of his fellow men, and his private character was as virtuous as his philanthropic efforts were pure. We could name a dozen more of these Burradon pitmen of equal re- spectability and moral virtue—prominent among whom w e should name Deury and Alderson, to whom every- body within their circle of acquaintance was deeply attached. Projects of many kinds for the intellectual improvement of the locality had met with warm sup- port from many of the deceased, and steps were in progress among the men to raise a public hall for their own use. Without exaggeration we may say that such an excellent set of men could rarely be found together in any circle of society, and hence the frightful calamity which has occurred is not only to be deplored for the agony it has produced and the misery which will result to the persons immediately affected by it, but it is also deeply to be lamented on account of the public loss occasioned to the pitmen at large. RECOVERY OF THE BODIES—A MELANCHOLY SABBATH. During the whole of Saturday night parties of viewers and miners pursued their labours in search of the bodies of the unfortunate men destroyed. Two bodies were sent to bank on Sunday morning, making about 50 altogether that had been recovered; and six more, apparently badly burnt, were lying at the bottom of the pit, ready to be sent up after dark. There are more bodies to be recovered; they are pro- bably among the works in the broken," and the exertions of the men below will be sustained without intermission until all are found. Mr Carr, the viewer of the colliery, has scarcely been out of the pit since the explosion and he and the Government inspectors and the neighbouring viewers have been most assiduous in their labours to get the bodies out. It is stated that the pit is, not very much injured by the explosion, most of the deaths having been occasioned by the after-damp. The dead bodies of the horses will have to be sent to bank immediately, else the stench from them will be almost unbearable.. The joiners m the neighbourhood and those belonging to the pit were engaged all Friday night and Saturday m making coffins, a large pile of which were lying on the pit bank on Saturday. Two bodies were interred on Sunday, and the bodies of all other unfortunate sufferers brought to bank would he buried on Monday. The village had a woeful appear ance on Sunday, as large crowds flocked into it from the neighbouring towns and villages. The doors of the cot- tages where the dead were laid were mostly open the cottages were scrupulously clean, the beds being hung with white linen, and the coffins were covered with linen of a similar character. Each home, of course, where the dead were laid, told its own tale of sorrow. Numbers of the friends of the bereaved reached the village on Sunday, and the day was one of the most melancholy that could be conceived. The cause of the accident is not yet discovered, but it- will be the duty of the coroner and jury to investigate these matters, assisted by the Government inspector, and the public will look tor a searching investigation of the circumstjwices. A subscription has been opened for the relief of the families of the sufferers, and it is to be hoped that the public generally will respond to the appeal.

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