Welsh miners died from exposure to flooded pit contents, probe finds
Published 27/09/2011 | 15:57
The inquest into the deaths of four men who died in a tragic colliery disaster following the flooding of the mine in south Wales was opened and adjourned today.
Phillip Hill, 44, Garry Jenkins, 39, David Powell, 50, and Charles Breslin, 62, died when water engulfed the Gleision Colliery in Cilybebyll, Pontardawe, earlier this month.
The corner spoke of the "sad circumstances" that led to the men's deaths.
Their families did not attend the inquest which lasted just a few minutes.
It was adjourned until a later date by Swansea Coroner Phillip Rogers.
At the inquest at the Guildhall in Swansea, the coroner issued interim death certificates for the families so that the men's funerals can go ahead this week.
The inquest heard the cause of the miners' deaths, which were first made public last week by South Wales Police, was exposure to flooded pit contents under pressure.
During the brief hearing the coroner said he would adjourn proceedings for the receipt of further reports.
Detailed examination results relating to each man are likely to take a further eight to 12 weeks, South Wales Police have said.
The tragedy at Gleision occurred on September 15, when emergency services were called to the remote drift mine.
Three miners managed to escape when flood water engulfed the pit's shaft after a retaining wall holding back a body of water failed.
It had been hoped the miners who were unable to get out might have found refuge in an air pocket following the accident.
However, after a major search and rescue operation, their bodies were found close together - one on the exit side of the blockage and the other three in the area where they had been working.
Mr Rogers said: "I'm sure we are all still very mindful of the sad circumstances and the effect on the families of the four deceased gentlemen and the local community."