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Fatalities - Biographies

The following information about the men who died building Hoover Dam was taken from newspaper articles from that time period.

Premature Blast Kills Dam Worker
Two Companions Hurt and one of Them May Die

A premature explosion in a tunnel being driven in the canyon wall 150 feet above the Colorado river killed one man fractured the skull of another and blew another out of the tunnel for a slide of 70 or 80 feet down the cliff this morning about 10:30.

The casualties:
M.J. Sidmore, 37, miner, killed.
Frank Manning, 37, fractured skull, not expected to live.
Forest Weathers, 32 shift boss, injured severely but not critically.

Sidmore leaves a wife, who lives in San Francisco, and Manning's wife lives in Las Vegas, at the Oasis auto camp. Attempts to locate Mrs. Sidmore in San Francisco had failed up to press time.

The three men were working on the tunnel for anchor bolt placements for the lower suspension bridge. They were in the T-shaped tunnel on the Nevada side, upstream from the water intake and downstream from the lower diversion portals.

As they were lighting the last of the fuses for a blast, at 10:30 o'clock the premature explosion took place.

"Shifter" weathers was blown away from the spot where he was standing; he partly was blown and partly ran on to the mouth of the tunnel and slid half way down the cliff to the river. He suffered bruises and contusions, possibly a broken right arm and leg. His condition is not serious.

Sidmore's body was recovered and taken to the Las Vegas Funeral home in the gateway city, and efforts were made to locate his wife in San Francisco.

Manning was rushed to the Boulder City hospital, suffering skull fracture and not expected to live.

F. Manning Dies of Skull Injuries
Second Death As Result of Premature Blast Occurs at 7:15 a.m.

Frank Manning, whose skull was fractured in the premature blast of yesterday morning in Black canyon, died this morning at 7:15 from the results of the fracture, death taking place at the Boulder City hospital.

Manning was 37, and married. His wife had been living at the Oasis camp in Las Vegas.

The body was taken to the Palm Funeral home in Las Vegas and funeral announcements will be made later.

M.J. Sidmore, 37, was instantly killed in the blast yesterday, which occurred in the tunnel being driven on the Nevada side of the canyon for anchor bolt placements for the lower suspension bridge.

A.O. George, Dam Worker, Is Killed

Crushed between two trucks at the workings in Black canyon, A.O. George, mechanic for Six Companies Inc., died last night shortly after an accident which occurred at the auto repair station below the lower portals of the Nevada diversion tunnels.

The accident occurred at about 11:30 p.m., and George was rushed by Six Company ambulance to the hospital in Boulder City, where he died several hours later.

He was working on a dump truck at the time of the accident, when another truck backed into him.

George was 40 and single. He lived formerly in San Bernadino.

George was working his first shift for Six Companies when the accident occurred and had worked but 35 minutes.

The coroner's jury found that "deceased cam to his death from accidental injuries, consisting of a fractured skull, fractured ribs on the left side, a severed right arm, the breaking and crushing of both legs, all of which caused shock and hemorrhages, sustained when he was crushed between two trucks. The accident was unavoidable.

Sunday Blast Hurts Boulder Workman

Howard Cornelius, age 23, employed as an oiler on a gas shovel at the dam, suffered a fractured skull and lies in a critical condition a the Boulder City hospital, as a result of an explosion in tunnel two at midnight Sunday.

The huge machine, with A. Chenoweth as shovel runner, was engaged in removing a quantity of rock and dirt in the construction of an adit at the lower end of the tunnel. the Shovel struck a "missed hole," a terrific explosion resulting. The workmen and machine were showered with flying rock.

Cornelius, standing beside the shovel at the time of the explosion, was struck in the forehead, just above the right eye, and was otherwise bruised about the face and body.

Chenowith, aboard the machine and somewhat sheltered, received minor cuts about the face.

Both men were hurried to the hospital, where Cornelius was found to have a fractured skull. His recovery is said to be doubtful.

Chenoweth was able to return to his home after having his injuries dressed and expects to be able to return to work soon.

Cornelius, who is unmarried, has a sister, Mrs. E. Moffat, residing at Glendo, Wyoming.

The shovel was only slightly damaged in the explosion.

Cornelius Is Dead Of Injuries Today

Howard Cornelius, who suffered a fractured skull Monday when a shovel in lower diversion tunnel number two struck a missed hole, died at 8:22 this morning in Boulder City hospital.

Little hope for recovery had been held for Cornelius' recovery following his injury, which resulted from being struck in the forehead by a rock thrown by the powder which had been lying in the old hole unexploded since the driving of the diversion tunnel.

Cornelius was 23 and has a sister in Glendo, Wyoming, Mrs. E. Moffatt. He was an oiler.

Dam Worker is Maimed By Primer Blast
Gus Enberg Has Arm Torn Off and Other Injuries in Explosion

Gus Enberg, Boulder canyon project workman who was injured in an explosion in one of the tunnels on the graveyard shift this morning, died at the Boulder City hospital early this afternoon.

A primer explosion which actually threw several sticks of powder out of a nearby hole without exploding them early this morning critically injured Gus Enberg, miner, and slightly hurt two other workers in the construction adit off the lower end of diversion tunnel two.

Enberg's left arm was blown off at the elbow, his right arm was mangled and his left leg was shattered, rendering his condition serious.

Enberg had loaded three sticks of powder into an 18 foot hole, then the primer, which he attempted to put into a hole caught on a slip in the rock more than 15 feet inside the hole, and he was unable to get it past the irregularity.

After trying for some time to push the primer on through, he gave it an angry shove with the stick, according to workmen who were nearby at the time, and the primer exploded, powder and rock shooting out at him.

Miraculously, the three sticks of powder in the end of the hole did not go off, avoiding a much more serious explosion.

And, even more miraculously sticks of powder in the next adjacent hole, two and one half feet away, were thrown out without exploding, due to the slip in the rock extending past both holes and in both directions.

In addition to Enberg's injuries, two other men were hurt slightly.

H. Miller, 31, married, suffered bruising of both legs and Douglas Yates, 28, single, suffered cuts on the right arm and right leg.

Enberg was 36 and single.

The accident happened at 3:20 this morning, on the graveyard shift.

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Last Reviewed: 9/09/2004