CBC Digital Archives

Second mining tragedy strikes Springhill

In the 1950s, the town of Springhill, N.S., was devastated by two of the worst mining disasters in Canadian history. An explosion in 1956 killed 39 miners, and another 74 died in the "bump" of 1958. Despite much hardship, the people of Springhill have shown a will to survive that is tougher than coal.

On Oct. 23, 1958, Springhill is revisited by tragedy. A massive "bump," similar to a small earthquake, shatters the No. 2 colliery of the Cumberland mines. There are 178 miners trapped 3,900 metres underground. Draegermen describe terrible chaos below and mine manager Harold Gordon is not hopeful about the possibility of survivors. After the rescue of 81 miners, the national media pulls out. Gordon says the death toll will stand at 93.
• A "bump" is a geological phenomenon that occurs in mines. It results when the removal of rocks and coal causes too much stress to the roof rock. The built-up pressure causes a collapse, which miners have described as the simultaneous meeting of floor with ceiling.
• While bumps are common in mining operations, the Springhill bump was one of the worst recorded.
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: Oct. 26, 1958
Guest(s): Ralph Gilroy, Archie Legierre, Phil Marsh
Host: Gordon Burwash
Reporter: Kingsley Brown
Duration: 5:35

Last updated: March 6, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

1989: Museum celebrates Canada's 'songbird' A...

Singer Anne Murray returns to Springhill, N.S. to open a museum in her honour.

1992: The Westray mining disaster

A methane explosion kills 26 miners in Plymouth, N.S.

1936: Moose River mine disaster

CBC's J. Frank Willis reports from Moose River, where three men have been trapped in an old go...

The 1936 Moose River Mine Disaster

It happened fast. Three men were suddenly trapped 43 metres underground when Nova Scotia's Moo...

Canada's biggest open pit asbestos mine close...

Residents of Asbestos, Que. protest the closing of the mines.

Three Moose River rescuers remember

In 1996, three men who were part of the rescue operation for the 1936 Moose River mine disaste...