Luisenthal Mine Disaster

07/02/1962 - Luisenthal - Explosion / Methane Explosion, Coal Dust Explosion

On February 7, a methane explosion occurred after the opening of a  methane-containing cavern in the Alsbach field. This triggered an even bigger coal dust explosion with devastating effects. 299 workers of the 433 present were killed, making this the greatest mining catastrophe in the history of the Saarland coal mining area.


About 7.45 o'clock, in the Alsbachschacht, one of four rope journey shafts of the pit Luisenthal: a vague bang which is to be heard in Saarbrucken-Burbach and Altenkessel. Under the force of a detonation underground the shaft lid flies high and gets stuck in the scaffolding. A black cloud of smoke resigns from the Alsbachschacht and stands like a dark memorial about the conveyor tower. A local resident takes a photo of them - the only known picture of the pit misfortune. The worst supposition is confirmed: In the field Alsbach of pit Luisenthal it has come on sole four to a blow weather explosion.

The main rescue place in Friedrichsthal and the pit weir Luisenthal were alarmed immediately, so that called at the rescue work already few minutes after the explosion. The noise of sirens, ambulances, helicopter rotors and sirens soon controlled Luisenthal and surroundings.

Along the drive to the pit and in the bill gate a crowd of people gathered: above all, members of 998 miners who had driven Luisenthal to the layer in this morning on pit. 664 only in the field Alsbach, and from these 433 in the area of the explosion.

Up to the midday 73 miners were rescued living, with the partly heaviest injuries. 61 mates returned uninjured in the daylight. Already shortly after midday one said: no survivors more. Now the dimension of the disaster became recognizable: Not eleven miners, as one said at first, but 287 men left her life at 600-metre depth.

24 hours after the explosion the first indexes of names came out, brought making easier however mostly sad certainty for the members in the still waiting amount. Only two weeks later the last missing were also rescued deadly. Others, at first living from the mountain got, succumbed later to her injuries, so that the disaster balance was at the end of February, 1962: 299 dead people, oldest 59 years old, the latest one not yet completely 17, and 73 injured persons.

This accident claimed the lives of 299 people.