Monday, August 19, 2013
590 MIGHTY MEMORY #421
WARM AT SHEPPTON
One news event that struck closer to home in August of 1963 was the Sheppton Mine Accident. From August 13th the nation was riveted by the three miners trapped 300 feet below the earth. For all of Northeastern Pennsylvania, this was a raw wound. Just three and a half years removed from the Knox Mine Disaster, the fate of the trio was huge news.
WARM's Terry McNulty was one of the first media people on the scene. In a documentary about WARM made for WVIA TV, McNulty described the tapping he heard from the two surviving miners. TV and newspapers also covered the event as a front page item every day. WDAU TV sent reporters down there every day and news director Tom Powell provided hourly updates.
People eagerly watched with concern as rescue workers tried to reach David Fellin, Henry Throne and Louis Bova. Bova’s body was never recovered.
The event was sobering because there were still vestiges of the mines left with areas pockmarked by the strip miners. And everyone in my railroad family knew a miner. The bond was emotional and deep.
As a nine year old, this was just one of the stories of human drama that got my attention. Another thing that made an impression was that even though the rescue saved two men, one never came out. WARM Radio constant gave updates, bulletins and live reports from the scene. For two weeks it was the lead story on News Live at 55 and at the headlines at the bottom of the hour.
This past week, family members of the late Louis Bova gathered at a tombstone above the earth where Bova lost his life 300 feet below. More than 200 people attended a Mass for the fallen miner.
In 1970 a local group, The Buoys had a national chart hit called "Timothy about three men trapped in a mine. It was said that the tune was about Sheppton but the song's composer Rupert Holmes said he had no idea about the incident until the song was soaring to the top twenty.