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Harrowing trek to save ailing miner

Dec. 10, 1909: Six men prospecting in the lower Holcomb Valley north of Big Bear Lake made it safely to San Bernardino “after a harrowing trip of three days,” The Times reported.

“The men fought their way, night and day, through snowdrifts, blizzards and blinding rain” to rush one of them -- who had fallen ill -- to a hospital.

The group’s leader, Patrick Cummings, “was stricken with ptomaine poisoning,” The Times said. “For hours, he lay in agony in Rock Gulch before being discovered by his companions.”

A doctor among them diagnosed the illness and “in the face of a driving rain, the miners set forth” toward help, the newspaper said. They got caught in a blizzard, took shelter in an abandoned cabin and tried “exercising” the ailing man in the snow.

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Cumming said he had been “poisoned by eating canned oysters.”


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