The Frank Slide
April 29, 1903 - The Frank Slide, one of the largest landslides in North American history happened on this day.
At 4:10 in the morning a massive chunk of limestone peeled off the east face of Turtle Mountain in Alberta, Canada. In 100 seconds, 90 million tons of rock came crashing down the mountain and buried the sleepy coal mining town of Frank.
At least 76 people were crushed to death, but there were many stories of survival. 17 coal miners who found themselves trapped tunneled through 20 feet of coal and 9 feet of limestone to reach the surface.
A horse named Charlie was rescued after a month trapped in a different section of the same mine. Sadly, Charlie dropped dead after gorging himself on the food and water that his rescuers provided.
A large stretch of the Pacific Railway was knocked out by the slide and the telegraph lines were severed. There was no easy way to warn the incoming Spokane Flyer so a railway brakeman named Sid Choquette scrambled over miles of boulders and debris to reach the other side of the landslide. He got there just in time to warn the train of the disaster ahead.
The town of Frank never fully recovered from that terrible day. Mining resumed off and on until 1917. Nowadays Frank is a small community with less than 300 residents. Turtle Mountain still looms above it.