Families of four Welsh miners killed after shaft flooded demand inquest into 2011 tragedy

The families of four Welsh miners who were killed in 2011 after a shaft flooded have demanded an inquest into the tragedy. 

Charles Breslin, 62, David Powell, 50, Phillip Hill, 44, and Garry Jenkins, 39, all died when water flooded the Gleision drift mine, near Pontardawe, South Wales, in September 2011. 

The men were killed after 650,000 gallons of water – equivalent to an Olympic-sized swimming pool – rushed over them as they tried to blast into a coal seam. 

The mine’s manager and owners were cleared of manslaughter charges in 2014 and survivors of the tragedy claim the deaths have been ‘swept under the carpet’. 

Charles Breslin’s widow Mavis added that she felt ‘cheated’ of a husband and an inquest after the acting coroner for Swansea decided not to not to hold full inquests following the 2014 trial. 

Lynette Powell said all she had was a temporary death certificate and added: ‘That is no closure for me. I haven’t got an inquest. Not only for me, for all the families.’

Survivor Jake Wyatt, who worked as a fitter in the mine, said his fellow workers deserved answers.

He said: ‘My opinion was all this was going to get swept under the carpet. Nobody wanted to know anything about it and it went from being such a high profile case to nothing within a couple of years.’ 

Charles Breslin

Charles Breslin

Garry Jenkins

Garry Jenkins

Charles Breslin, 62 (left), David Powell, 50, Phillip Hill, 44, and Garry Jenkins, 39 (right), all died when water flooded the Gleision drift mine in September 2011

David Powell, 50

David Powell, 50

Phillip Hill, 44

Phillip Hill, 44

David Powell, 50 (left), and Phillip Hill, 44 (right), were two of the victims of the disaster in south Wales in 2011

Jake told how he managed to cheat death – but his tragic colleagues could not be saved.

He said: ‘We heard the blast. Then within seconds you could hear, I described it as a jet engine. We knew something had gone drastically wrong. So, I jumped on the belt and we both said the same thing – ‘run’. I remember crawling down and within about 10 yards I fell off. I heard Garry behind me: ‘run!’

‘So, I went on back on the belt, going like the clappers of hell. I’d say about halfway down there was a walkway, so I jumped off the belt, turned around and there was no sign whatsoever of Garry. There was no light, there was nothing at all.’

Fellow former miner Nigel Evans added: ‘As it stands, now, nobody’s been blamed. Somebody must take responsibility for four bodies, four men, four lives, you know?’

The mine’s co-owner Maria Seage, said she supported an inquest and would take responsibility if found to have done something wrong.

She said: ‘There’s still so many unanswered questions and the only way to get them answered is reopen the mine, re-survey the mine, have a proper inquiry or proper inquest.

‘And if, by doing that, I am found that I have done something wrong – as far as I know I haven’t – but if that day comes and they find yes I have, well, I’ve got to take what’s coming.’

The men were submerged under a torrent of water after they detonated explosives 300 metres underground in September 2011.

But they were unable to get out of the 2ft 6in high tunnel they were working in as the water came rushing through the seam.

They were drowned by an underground reservoir of water from old workings had been there since 1984.

A massive search and rescue effort was launched after the disaster but the men could not be saved. 

Accident investigators found two lengths of rod indicating that drilling had taken place to determine the thickness of coal and the presence of water before the tragedy.

MNS Mining Ltd, which ran the mine at the time of the 2011 tragedy, denied four charges of corporate manslaughter by failing to ensure a safe system of work was in place

MNS Mining Ltd, which ran the mine at the time of the 2011 tragedy, denied four charges of corporate manslaughter by failing to ensure a safe system of work was in place

MNS Mining Ltd, which ran the mine at the time of the 2011 tragedy, denied four charges of corporate manslaughter by failing to ensure a safe system of work was in place

The mine's manager and owners were cleared of manslaughter charges in 2014 but a later report found no flood risk assessment had been carried out

The mine's manager and owners were cleared of manslaughter charges in 2014 but a later report found no flood risk assessment had been carried out

The mine’s manager and owners were cleared of manslaughter charges in 2014 but a later report found no flood risk assessment had been carried out

The men were killed after 650,000 gallons of water - equivalent to an Olympic-sized swimming pool - rushed over them as they tried to blast into a coal seam

The men were killed after 650,000 gallons of water - equivalent to an Olympic-sized swimming pool - rushed over them as they tried to blast into a coal seam

The men were killed after 650,000 gallons of water – equivalent to an Olympic-sized swimming pool – rushed over them as they tried to blast into a coal seam

One miner, who had been working in that area of the mine the day before the disaster, told investigators that water had been running from the bore hole ‘like a tap running half on’. 

MNS Mining Ltd, which ran the mine at the time, denied four charges of corporate manslaughter by failing to ensure a safe system of work was in place. 

Pit boss Malcolm Fyfield was one of seven people working inside the Gleision drift mine when a shaft flooded in 2011. He survived after crawling out through sludge and dirt.

As he was being treated by paramedics, Swansea Crown Court heard he told paramedics: ‘They’ve gone. There is no hope for the others.’ 

Father-of-two Fyfield pleaded not guilty to four counts of manslaughter during the 2014 trial. 

The mine’s manager and owners were cleared of manslaughter charges but a later report found no flood risk assessment had been carried out 

Lee Reynolds, a former surveyor for Gleision mine who gave evidence in the trial, called on authorities to assess whether opportunities to improve safety at the mine had been missed.

He said: ‘When you get a major incident – and I believe four people getting killed tragically is a major incident – they have a prior role investigation. It should be undertaken independently.

‘With what we’re finding in our investigation, a prior role investigation should have been undertaken, but wasn’t.’

Conditions in the mine were said to be cramped, with the ceiling height at just 77cm, almost 20cm lower than a standard kitchen worktop. 

An HSE spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment on the points raised by Mr Reynolds and the families.

The spokesman added: ‘Our thoughts are with the families on this poignant anniversary. We supported the South Wales Police investigation at the time which ended in a manslaughter trial, but HSE did not bring any charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in addition to their prosecution.’

Link hienalouca.com

Advertising:

Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast

For most families, it has already been a common practice to spend the Holiday season in a foreign location. This is caused by the aviation market changes which have given a lot of benefits for people who travel a lot. Airfares going to different tourist destinations are becoming more inexpensive. What does this mean? If there is a perfect time to purchase luxury holiday package deals, now it the right time! Based on the market trend nowadays, you can save both money and time when you go for a luxury holiday. There are countless offers that combine travel and accommodation in one package which is a lot cheaper than getting separate deals. Aside from that, it is also risky to individually book the services that you need for the vacation. You might end up missing out on some important details of the trip. Unlike when you take advantage of luxury holiday package deals, you can be sure that everything is organized meticulously and according to what you really need. Nonetheless, you would still need to carefully select the package that would fit your needs. Review the following tips in getting packages that are reasonably priced. · Normally, luxury tour packages include accommodation, flight travel and transportation to individual tourist destinations. It would be best to choose the complete package so you won’t have to worry about other vacation elements. In addition to that, these are the packages that have the biggest discounts. · You can get big mark down prices, if you will purchase more packages. It is not a bad idea to share the wonderful moment with your loved ones. By doing so, you would not only enjoy, you will also save more money. You can even use your savings for other activities on your vacation. · It would be best to know how much you are willing to pay for the luxury tour packages. You can already work around your budget. You have to stick to your budget. If not, you might end up spending a lot and you will be left with less money for your vacation. · Prices may vary depending on the destination of the tour. You can do a research about places that are attractive yet inexpensive. There are thousands of destinations and you just have to choose wisely. · There are packages that include recreational activities. This means that you are paying for all the activities when you purchase these packages. The right thing to do is to make sure that the activities that are included would be the ones that you really enjoy. There is no sense in paying for activities that will not really make your vacation memorable. If you are going with friends, you should also consider their preferences so that you can be sure that everyone will enjoy the trip. There are other ways on how you can be sure that you are getting the best deal for your luxury holiday vacation. No matter how you choose to do it, you have to get adequate information about the packages. This will help you determine whether it is worth the price.

(Total views: 56 Time, 1 visits per day)

Leave a Reply