Finley Hurricane Creek Mine Disaster 1970

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 30 Dec 1970 [unknown]
Location: Hyden, Leslie County, Kentuckymap
Surnames/tags: Mining_Disasters Kentucky Disasters
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Disasters | Mining Disasters | United States Mining Disasters | Southeast United States Mining Disasters | Finley Hurricane Creek Mine Disaster


History and Circumstances

  • Date: 30 Dec 1970
  • Location:
  • Victims: 38 deaths
  • Cause: Explosion
Area History
"Hurricane Creek Mine was located near Hyden, Leslie County, Kentucky. Leslie County is in the Southeastern part of the state. The county is approximately 404 square miles. The county population at the time of the disaster was 11,623. The mine workers were from Leslie and neighboring Clay Counties, two of the poorest counties in the state of Kentucky.

Rescue Efforts

Results and Findings

An investigation revealed a “nearly absolute failure” to enforce the new safety laws. Traces of dynamite and Primacord, both banned by the new law, were found inside the mine. Excessive accumulations of coal dust and inadequate applications of rock dust in parts of Nos. 15 and 16 mines permitted propagation of the explosion throughout the mines.
The disaster occurred exactly one year after the passage of the Coal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1969.

Miner Victims

Name Age DOB Occupation
Bentley, Walter 60 10-Oct-1910 Shot Firer - Utliity Man
Bowling, Billy J 25 14-Sep-1946 Tractor Operator
Bowling, Grover Jr 33 14-Aug-1937 Tractor Operator
Bush, Teddy 21 23-Apr-1949 Timberman
Collins, Fred 18 8-Apr-1952 Tractor Operator
Collins, Kenople 26 28-Sep-1944 Tractor Operator
Collins, Lonnie 17-Dec-42 Roof Drill Operator
Couch, Alonzo 34 26-Sep-1936 Tractor Operator
Couch, Holt 34 8-Feb-1936 Tractor Operator
Couch, Howard 34 8-Feb-1936 Loading Machine Operator
Ghent, Carl 31 9-Jan-1939 Loading Machine Operator
Gibson, Alfred  44 8-Jul-1926 Bratticeman
Gray, Lawrence  30 29-Nov-1940 Coal Drill Operator
Griffin, Theo  28 Tractor Operator
Harris, Lester 35 17-Mar-1935 Mining Machine Operator
Henson, Delbert 19 4-May-1905 Loading Point Operator
Henson, Price 38 19-Feb-1932 Roof Drill Operator
Hibbard, Walter 41 3-May-1929 Superintendent & Mine Foreman
Holland, George  41 Mining Machine Operator
Hoskins, Ben 24 14-Nov-1946 Tractor Operator
Hoskins, Frank 19 16-Jul-1951 Tractor Operator
Hubbard, Kermit 39 24-May-1931 Repairman
Jones, Jim  36 12-Mar-1943 Coal Drill Operator
Jones, Rufus  53 1-Oct-1917 Timberman
Minton, James C  27 12-Mar-1943 Tractor Operator
Mitchell, Lee 16 3-Jan-1954 Beltman
Morgan, Russell 33 24-Dec-1937 Repairman
Phillips, Earl 45 6-Jul-1925 Shot Firer
Roberts, Stanley 44 8-Sep-1926 Shot Firer
Sizemore, Arnold 34 23-Jan-1936 Utility Man
Smith, Wilbert  33 4-10-1937 Mining Machine Operator
Spurlock, Jeffie 41 30-Aug-1929 Loading Machine Operator
Wagers, Albert 28 6-Nov-1942 Loading Machine Operator
Wagers, Armond 40 5-Feb-1930 Tractor Operator
Wagers, Arnold 35 23-Mar-1935 Tractor Operator
White, Elmer 23 9-Sep-1947 Loading Point Operator
Whitehead, Andrew D 46 11-Jul-1924 Section Foreman
Young, Denver 29 29-Jan-1941 Mining Machine Operator

Miner Survivors

The lone survivor, conveyor belt operator A.T. Collins, was blown some sixty feet out of the mine and into the road. He spent the next two weeks in the hospital recovering from his injuries.

Museums & Memorials

Mile Marker commemorating the disaster

Want to Know More?

  • Book regarding the disaster: Bethell, Thomas N. (1972). The Hurricane Creek massacre;: An inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of thirty-eight men in coal mine explosion. Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-080251-0.



38 Lives Lost in the Finley Hurricane Creek 1970 Mine Explosion

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