On this day in 1903, the coal mining village of Frank, NWT (now Alberta) was completely obliterated when an estimated 82 million tonnes of rock slid along a plane of structural weakness from Turtle Mountain onto the village. The slide lasted for less than a minute and a half and debris stretched over 3 square kilometres, covering roads, houses, farms, and a mine entrance.
The slide left 17 men trapped in the mine. As they fought against a dwindling air supply, they dug a new shaft and emerged to freedom having spent 13 hours trapped underground. Twenty-three men, women and children were rescued from the rubble, but at least 70 others died in the disaster.
There is still considerable controversy over the cause of the slide. Some believe unsafe mining practices were contributing factors, while others believe it was simply a natural disaster. More than likely, the slide was caused by a combination of earthquakes, erosion, and mining.
For more information, see the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre