Author to recognize potash mine accident, sign books
Aug 23, 2018 | 720 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kymbery Mele will sign books Aug. 27 at an event sponsored by the Museum of Moab and the Grand County Historical Preservation Commission. The event will commemorate the 55th anniversary of the tragedy that occurred near Moab. 				                    Courtesy photo
Kymbery Mele will sign books Aug. 27 at an event sponsored by the Museum of Moab and the Grand County Historical Preservation Commission. The event will commemorate the 55th anniversary of the tragedy that occurred near Moab. Courtesy photo
A gathering to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the tragic Cane Creek Potash Mine Explosion near Moab will be held on Aug. 26 and 27.

The Museum of Moab and the Grand County Historical Preservation Commission are sponsoring the event at the Grand Center at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27. David Vaughn will facilitate the night’s event and Kymberly Mele, the author of the book, "Disaster at Cane Creek," will be one of several speakers. Mele will also sign books before this event, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the same location. The book is a comprehensive account of the 1963 Cane Creek underground potash mine explosion.

A gathering has also been planned for the previous day, Aug. 26, at the Cane Creek Mine Explosion Monument at Intrepid Potash Company (current owners of the facility) west of Moab at 4 p.m. This will be a chance for many to gather near the mine site and see the Cane Creek Monument. For those who need a ride to the mine site they may contact Vaughn. The mine site is located at the end of Potash Road on Hwy. 279.

“This story, while tragic because of the men who lost their lives, also highlights the human drive for survival by the men who lived and the determination and camaraderie the mine rescuers had to the end,” said Mele.

The book has been described as “a story of courage, survival and tragedy” and as a riveting account of the devastating potash mine explosion that occurred Aug. 27, 1963, only hours after a miraculous mine rescue of two coal miners near Sheppton, Pennsylvania. Caught in the horrific explosion near Moab were 25 miners working the afternoon shift at Texas Gulf Sulphur’s new Cane Creek Potash Mine located on the banks of the Colorado River. “Not knowing if any of the men survived in one of the deepest shaft mines in North America, the blast triggered a full-on state and federal mine rescue operation,” said Mele.

“Unlike the many major motion pictures of the day filmed in this scenic area, this drama did not play out on the big screen but unfolded on a larger-than-life stage with all the twists, turns and heart-pounding perilous moments of a gripping action movie. In this true story, hardworking miners, persevering mine rescuers and family members endured extreme conditions and tragic heartbreak,” she said. “The disaster tore at the very fabric of a community, the mining industry and those intimately or remotely connected. Occurring during the iconic years of the early 1960s during the Kennedy administration, this is an unforgettable story especially for those who lived it.”

Mele, a resident of Price, is the daughter of one of the survivors of the Cane Creek Mine explosion and has also been associated with mining throughout her husband’s career in the industry. She is the president of her company, Mele Enterprises, and is a member of the Utah League of Writers. She has been a freelance writer, has done graphic arts work, produced and published newsletters for several companies, one being the International Society of Mine Safety Professionals. She has also written articles for Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association’s mining magazine, The Bulletin. Mele has also been a public speaker for youth groups and was a speaker at the 1996 National Mine Rescue Competition sponsored by the Mine Safety and Health Administration in Las Vegas, as well as the Carbon County Mine Rescue Competition in Price, that same year.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.