The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

September 26th, 2016

Sept. 20, 1945Springhill Record
Investigate Accident That Took Thomas Porter’s Life

     On Tuesday morning of this week an inquiry was held in the Town Hall into the death of Thomas Porter who was injured in the Mine on Aug. 27th resulting in his death in the early morning the following day at All Saints HospitalV.B. Fullerton, K.C., presided.

     The first witness was Douglas Fletcher, Mine Surveyor, who showed plans of the district where the accident occurred and the place where the deceased worked.  These plans showed No. 2 mine where Mr. Porter was working as a trip runner.  Mr. Porter was found four feet to the west side of the tracks.  The deceased had to cross these tracks in order to get to his work from the waiting room.  There is a sign hanging near by warning not to cross the tracks while the ropes, which are above the tracks, are in motion. 

     The Deputy Overman in No. 2, Dan Harroun, under whom Mr. Porter worked, was called to the stand.  Mr. Harroun stated that he had been working on the day of the accident and had been talking to the deceased twice before the time of the accident.  The first time being about 6 a.m. when he told him to go down to the 11400 to the trip.   He was trip runner on the day shift.  The Overman was again talking to him around 10:30, the last time.  On being asked how he knew Mr. Porter had been hurt, he stated that at the time of the accident he had been down on the 10600 when the chain runner heard it and told him.  On arriving at the scene he found Mr. Porter had left a full rake at the head.  He told the court “that sometimes Mr. Porter rode the full rake, his job being to take the trip up to the men empty and bring it out full.  They were working on stone that day.  I saw him first at the main bottom and the second time he was at his place of work.  Sometimes Mr. Porter would finish his work early and then he would go home.”

     Mr. Dan McKay, the Underground Manager for No. 2 said he had not been talking to Mr. Porter all that day and only saw him at the 7100 about 1p.m.  “The boys sent up for a stretcher from the 6900 bottom.  I went up to get a stretcher and then went back with them when we found the deceased was badly hurt and arranged to have him taken up.  There was Mr. Austin and Mr. Ross with him when I got down.  He was living when I got there but did not speak at all.  On looking around I found there was blood on the ground a short distance from the place where Mr. Porter was found.  He was three feet from the tracks on the 7100 level on the back slope when I went down.  He was on his way to the waiting room because his work would not take him across the tracks. 

     Mr. Campbell asked Mr. McKay what arrangements were made to take the men up when the work was done.  Mr. McKay stated that when they were done hoisting coal they put a trolley on to take the men up.  This is usually around 1 p.m.  All men have to go to the 7100 to get this trolley.  If they arrive ahead of time they have to wait in the waiting room or sometimes they walk up. 

     Mr. Osmond, representative for the U.M.W. stated that the men are permitted to walk  up the slope at any time. 

     The next witness was Mr. Ross who worked at the 8300 pipe slope – called the travel road.  He told the court that after 12 o’clock the men usually start to walk up the slope.  He was working on the pipes when the men went by, but he had not talked to Mr. Porter.  He continued “I finished my work around 1 p.m. and I walked up to the 7100 level.  Mr. Porter walked up alone.  When I saw him later he was three or four feet from the west rails.  I could not give any idea as to how he was hurt.  He was unconscious when we found him.  I saw some men going by and I yelled to them for help.  My buddy was with me at the time.  There was nothing around to show what might have caused the accident.  He was lying to the side of the tracks when we found him.  When we moved him we could tell he was crossing the tracks the rope might have hit him and thrown him.  If he didn’t hear the trip coming it might have hit him.  When the stretcher came a number of us got him out.  He was hurt badly.  I went with him to the surface where Dr. Murray was waiting, but a man from the surface went with him to the hospital. 

     Mr. Ed Austin, who also worked on the pipe slope between the 8300 and 8400, told the court that “When Mr. Ross and I finished our work we started to walk up and we saw Mr. Porter lying on the side of the track and we took him back.  His leg was not cut off but there was not much holding it.  I would say it was around 1 p.m. when we found him.  I could not have happened much before that time.  I did not pay attention to any one who went by me because I was working.  Nor did I have a conversation with anyone.”

     Mille Cvitkovich was brought to the stand for questioning.  He also represented the U.M.W. He stated because of his eyesight Mr. Porter might have put his foot on the rail and got it caught and then a rope hit him and a rake caught him.  “I knew him quite well and he wore quite thick glasses outside.  I didn’t recall whether he wore them in the mine or not.  I have never worked with him but gone back and forth with him.  I have had dealings with him on different committees.  I don’t know about his hearing – I talk loud if there was much noise but outside I only talk in my natural voice.  He told the court that the rope is in motion all the time, with the exception of every 7 or 8 minutes when it is still.  When the rake is handy the rope is about 2 feet high but as it is away down the slope the rope is practically on the ground.”

     Dr. Murray, the attending doctor of the deceased, gave testimony as to the injuries received.  Dr. Murray reported the following:

  1. “The first time I saw Mr. Porter was when they brought him to the surface.  I did not examine him but he was unconscious.  We went to the hospital.  The deceased did not have any chance: he had several lacerations of the scalp. Fractured skull, traumatic amputation of the right thigh, just below the right hip.  He was still unconscious in fact he did not regain consciousness.  He died early in the morning.  His right leg was not off but was hanging by a few pieces of flesh.  He suffered other fractures and bruises but they were not serious.  His leg was crushed completely from the hip down.”

     The Doctor was asked, if he thought the injuries could have been caused by being hit by a box or being run over, to which he replied “the latter.”  “Any lacerations of the face?”  Dr. Murray replied there were some on head and a little on forehead but none directly on the face.

     No decision was given but the presiding officer who forwards his finding to the Department of Mines, Halifax


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