Pine Brook Shaft Accident

On May 21, 1982 an unthinkable accident occurred in Scranton. At the intersection of Capouse and Olive Streets, workers with Empire Construction Company were attempting to back fill the long abandoned Pine Brook Shaft. The shaft was located in the parking lot of the Phillip May scrap yard. Workers were using a crane to break the shaft cap to allow it to then be back filled. On this fateful day the shaft cap collapsed taking the retaining walls of the shaft collar with it. The land around the shaft is sandy leading to a large funneling of the ground collapsing into the shaft itself. The crane operator jumped to safety and while the other 8 crew members managed to escape, Jerry White, a 33-year-old electrician was trapped in a massive slide of dirt and sand and was sucked down with the crane. A dragline and cranes with clam shell buckets were brought in to excavate the shaft hoping to find Jerry, and an old manway was opened with hopes to be able to reach him through the abandoned mine workings. This proved unsuccessful. The escape pod from the, then under construction, Lackawanna Mine Tour, was brought in and secured to a crane and lowered down the shaft with mine workers. On July 3rd, 58 days after the accident, Whites body was discovered 165 feet down the shaft.

Office of Surface Mining photos from 1982.