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Obituary for Alexander McPhail (1875-1947)



Obituary for Alexander McPhail (1875-1947)
     One of the few survivors of the historic Frank Slide in 1903, Alexander MacPhail, 72, of 108 7th Ave. NW,  died Tuesday in a Calgary hospital.  A stationary engineer, he had retired only a week ago.
     Born in Caledonia, NS, Mr. MacPhail went to Fernie, BC in 1898 and in 1901 moved to Frank. 
     In the early morning of April 29, 1903, he was one of 17 men on night shift within the shafts of the coal mine.  At 4:10 am a huge wedge of limestone, 1,300 feet high, 4,000 feet wide and 500 feet thick, broke away from the side of Turtle Mountain and swept into the valley killing 86 persons and trapping the miners.
    The miners did not know they had been trapped until they started to leave at the end of their shift, and found the exit plugged.  Instead of awaiting rescue they tunnelled their way upwards and emerged 13 hours later while rescue crews were still frantically digging to clear the debris from the entrance to the mine.
     Mr. MacPahil later moved to Calgary, and had been a stationary engineer for Templeton's Ltd., for 18 years.  He retired July 21.
     Surviving are two sisters, Anne and Catherine, both of Calgary and a brother, Archie, of Saskatoon.
     Services are being held in Jaques' Chapel today at 2:45 pm, and interment will follow in Burnsland cemetery.


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