Springhill, N.S. holds vigil to remember coal mine disaster of 50 years ago

Christopher Gooding
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Springhill, N.S. - Fifty years ago and 4,000 metres underground, Harold Brine wondered if he would ever see his young family again.
Brine was one of 12 miners trapped in a small pocket inside the No. 2 coal mine in Springhill, N.S., after a devastating upheaval known as a 'bump' collapsed shafts trapping or killing 167 working men.
As the days rolled on, food ran out and lamps died and Brine's thoughts turned to his family. Would he be remembered?
Families, survivors, miners and friends stood against a cold, biting wind Thursday to mark the anniversary of the Oct. 23, 1958 tragedy.
There were tales of loss and the courage of those who went down to rescue their co-workers and friends.
"What those guys did was wonderful," Brine said as he stood in front of the former No. 2 colliery site. "We were trapped in a little hole and they didn't give up."
His daughter, Bonnie Cole, stood at his side as town residents unveiled a plaque commemorating the event near the former pit head, now a national historic site.
"I don't remember anything about the bump. I was two-and-a-half years old then," said Cole.
"Dad always said he wondered down there if his daughter would remember him. I wouldn't have."
Brine and 11 other miners were rescued after a harrowing six days underground, another six were found alive two days later.
In all 75 men lost their lives in a disaster that marked the end of large-scale coal mining in Springhill.

Geographic location: Springhill

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