Home > 250th Anniversary Stories > Daring rescue 455 feet below ground saves lives

Daring rescue 455 feet below ground saves lives

Year 1951

Read by John Grandy – Chairman, Royal Humane Society

Please share...
Share on InstagramShare on LinkedIn
Play Video

Williams, John, (55) Mine Captain

Stanhope Gold Medal 1951

At 8 am on 31st October, 1950, at No 3 level of the Konongo Gold Mine, Gold Coast, West Africa, Briama Cardoe, an African citizen, was sent to pull stone from old chutes to infill chutes emptied from another level when a big stone came from the chute and overbalanced him. He fell into the cavity below and rock began to slide and fall burying him. Mr Williams and the other two salvors went down to the level, which is 455 feet below ground to try and get Mr Cardoe out, but the loose stones again started to move, endangering all four, Mr Williams promptly made a barrier of his body in an attempt to stop the flow.

The effort was partly successful but not before Mr Cardoe was completely covered. Mr Williams and his helpers worked feverishly to uncover the victim’s head and shoulders. This they did and were clearing him fully when the loose stones again began to run, covering Mr Cardoe. A rope and ladder were lowered to the rescuers enabling them to cut into the sides of the chute on the level of the victim’s legs. This done they had to remove the stones from around the victim piece by piece while Mr Williams, by a great feat of strength and endurance, held back the loose stones by making a barrier of his body. Due to the efforts of the rescuers, especially Mr Williams, and complete disregard of personal safety, Mr Cardoe was rescued with no other injuries than a cut leg and cut forehead after having been trapped for 5 hours. Mr Shiels, the experienced shift boss stated : ‘No praise could be too great for the men concerned. I may add that I have been a miner for 28 years and have never seen a braver act.’

Samanu Wangara (40) Head Truck Boy and Benjamin (30) Head Timber Boy were each awarded the Bronze Medal.

Please share...
Share on InstagramShare on LinkedIn

More about the Royal Humane Society