John Henry Wiggins helped to rescue Richard S. Riser from a mine cave-in, Steubenville, Ohio, October 14, 1935. While Riser, 51, was working in an entry five feet high in a mine, a rock 30 feet long, 10 feet wide, and two to three feet thick fell from the top, knocking him down close to a rail of a track and pinning his right arm and left foot. His left knee was pressed against his chest, causing him to breathe with great difficulty. Wiggins, 48, mine loader, ran to the rock and at a point 12 feet from Riser lay prone and crawled under it toward Riser through an opening 14 inches high. The rock rested mainly on refuse coal, and as Wiggins crawled, he pushed rock fragments from in front of him and stacked them to aid in preventing the rock from sinking lower and crushing him. Reaching Riser, he tugged at his left foot and forced off Riser’s shoe but was unable to free his foot. Riser urged him to break his leg, if necessary. Wiggins crawled back to the opening, got a jack handle, again crawled to Riser, and tried to raise the rock by means of the handle but failed. He then took hold of Riser’s ankle with both hands and pulled his foot free, crawled backward for four feet, and pulled Riser’s leg to a straight position. He removed rock fragments from around Riser’s right leg and then tried to pull Riser’s arm from its wedged position. Failing to do so, he crawled back to the opening and clear of the rock. He had been under the rock for 20 minutes Later the rock was raised by means of jacks, and Riser was dragged from beneath it. His arm was paralyzed. Two other men who were caught under the fall were killed.
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