Another serious accident at the Thames Tunnel, and loss of lives

An account of the tunnel flood where 6 men lost their lives and IKB was injured.
Date 16 January, 1828
Reference BA3202742364
Publication Derby Mercury

Another serious accident at the Thames Tunnel, and loss of lives

At the Thames Tunnel on Saturday morning about half-past six o’clock, the most alarming sensation prevailed, in consequence of another irruption of the water into the Tunnel, and which we regret to say, has been attended with the loss of lives of six unfortunate individuals engaged upon the undertaking. About half-past five o’clock the bell rang for a change of gangs, and continued until six o’clock, when about one hundred men, super-intended by Mr. Brunel, jun. the engineer, went down the shaft, to relieve the others coming off duty. They came up the shaft and went home to their breakfasts, and in about half an hour after the intelligence was resounded far and near that another irruption had taken place, and that all the miners and other persons had met with a watery grave. Wives and children in a state of nudity, the accident happening at such an early hour, were seen in the utmost state of distress, eagerly enquiring after their husbands and fathers.

In the midst of this distressing scene, out rushed a number of men in a state of great exhaustion, some carrying their fainting comrades, who were moved to the house of Mr. Timothy, the Spread Eagle, where they were brought to by restoratives. Mr. Brunel, jun. was brought out with his ankle much injured in his exertions to save the unfortunate men that have perished. That Gentleman gives the following account of the melancholy event. He says that he was at work with the men in the first box, about 595 feet under the river, when the men commenced knocking away at the pole, or bar, that supports the earth on either side of the Tunnel,  and all of a sudden the earth broke in, as he then supposed, through a hole not more than six inches; but such was the velocity with which it came in, that three men were struck blind. He instantly jumped off the stage upon which he was standing, and attempted to make his way to the shaft, but turned back again in hopes of saving the unfortunate men he had left behind; but finding all attempts impracticable, he swam to the shaft, and effected his escape with the injury above stated.

The names of the unfortunate sufferers are:- Thomas Ball, leaving a wife, but no family; J. Long, a wife, but no family; Thomas Collins – a wife and two children; Jeptha Cook – six children, orphans; George Evans, a single man; and a person named Lincoln, a single man, who had not been long on the works.

 

 

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