Remembering the Sheppton Mine Disaster

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SHEPPTON -- A group of about 100 people gathered together Sunday afternoon along School House Road in Sheppton in Schuylkill County.

Together, the group walked about a half-mile into the woods leading to the site of the old Sheppton mine.

"We're here this month because it's the 50th anniversary of the mine disaster where some people are saying a mine miracle because the two miners were saved," said Pat McKinney of the Schuylkill Conservation District.

August 1963 three miners went to work not knowing they would become trapped. The mine collapsed and buried the trio 300 feet below.

The efforts to rescue the men spanned for two weeks.

David Fellin, 58, and Henry Throne, 28, were pulled out alive.

The third miner, Louis Bova, 42, was never found.

"It was joyful because we rescued two guys, but it was sad because we didn't get Louis out," said Ronnie Sando.

Sando, 75, is the only living member of the rescue team.

On Sunday afternoon he reminisced on the hours leading up to the rescue.

"To satisfy the family we drilled one more hole. We put a stone down, a stake or whatever it was. We put the drill in, and that's where they found them," he said.

Sando showed the crowd the area where the rescue happened.

A few feet away is where Bova's tombstone was placed. It's where some believe he died.

"There's no word in the dictionary that can express my feelings for all these people who showed up here," said John Bova.

John Bova was eight months old when his father died.

He said over the years he has continued to receive support from the community.

He hopes that one day the area can become a landmark.

"We'd like to get this thing known as a national landmark. Let's get the ball rolling. Let's get a sign up here that would be nice."

For more information on how you can help make the area a landmark, contact the Schuylkill Conservation District at (570) 622-3742.