Cumberland County is mourning the passing of the last survivor of the 1958 Springhill mine disaster.
Harold Brine died Friday, July 28, 2023, at the age of 91.
Municipality of Cumberland Mayor Murray Scott is expressing condolences to Brine’s family, saying Brine will always be an important part of Springhill’s history.
Harold Brine, the last survivor of the 1958 Springhill mine disaster, holds up a photo of himself following the Bump that took the lives of 75 miners. Brine passed away last week. Submitted
“On behalf of our council, staff, and community we extend our deepest condolences to Harold's family,” Mayor Scott said. “Harold as the last surviving member of the 1958 bump is and has been a true part of the history of Springhill. We will always remember his contribution to our heritage with his stories and recollections of his time underground with his fellow miners. Harold was a true Springhiller who will never be forgotten.”
Brine was only 26 years old when the Number 2 mine bumped on Oct. 23, 1958.
At a ceremony in Springhill in 2018 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Bump, Brine said he often thought of the 75 men who lost their lives. He was among 12 men rescued after spending six days trapped underground near the bottom of the deepest coal mine in North America.
Brine was only 19 when he left his job as an auto mechanic to work in the Springhill coal mine in 1951. He was on his way into Springhill when an explosion ripped through the Number 4 mine, killing 39 men – including seven on the surface.
He would serve as a draegerman as 88 men eventually emerged from the mine.
On Oct. 23, 1958, Brine was working with three other men at the 13,000-foot wall when the mine was shaken by a seismic bump just after 8 p.m. After six days in the dark, 12 miners, including Brine, were taken to the surface on stretchers, while two days later seven more were found alive.
Two months after the explosion, Brine and his family left Springhill for southern Ontario where he stayed until the mid-1990s before settling in Geary, N.B. near Fredericton in 1999.
Cremation has taken place and as per his wishers, there will be no service. He will be laid to rest in the Mapleton Cemetery at a later date.
Contributions can be made to the Heart and Lung Association in his memory.