Now what struck me is how some men weren't working on the day of the disaster for some reason or other - and other men were working, when they shouldn't have been. In other words some men were saved and others were killed. Was this a coincidence, or was fate playing a part in saving some but killing others?
Here's how some men survived ...
Bill Bakura, father of Mrs. Walter Montgomery of Waynesburg, was almost ready to enter the mine that fateful day when suddenly he became ill. He went home, and his substitute became one of the victims.
Mike Mullen's alarm clock failed to go off, and he missed work that day.
Carl Doney overslept and his life was spared.
Joe Guidi and his father were about to enter the mine when Joe told his father he had a strange feeling something was going to happen. He replaced his pit lamp and went home. They brought the body of his father home several days later,
The entire Mather baseball team left work early because it had a big game in Nemacolin that evening. Charles Haber, an infielder, returned later to the mine to get his tools. He was the only member of the team to die that day.
An unnamed miner had a terrible nightmare about a rock-fall on the night before the disaster and refused to work that day. As a consequence he lived for many more years.
But others were there when perhaps they need not have been:
An unnamed young miner volunteered to work that day to make extra money for a trip with his wife. They were going to celebrate their first wedding anniversary,
Four brothers, Paul, Sam, John and Andy Bootz were killed. Two of the brothers had only started at the mine the previous day.
It seems, whenever there is a disaster there are stories of how people perhaps missed a flight or train journey, or felt they shouldn't go somewhere on a particular day. It always makes me wonder if there is a time to die and also a time when we should live. If so, I wonder how that decision is reached?
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