Sunday 25 February 2018

VIDEO: Miner dies after roof collapses in Yorkshire mine

Amy Murphy

One man died and another was injured after a roof collapse in a Yorkshire mine.

It is the second tragedy to hit the British coal industry in a fortnight following the deaths of four men in a flooded colliery in south Wales.

The man died after being trapped by a rock fall in Kellingley Colliery, North Yorkshire, the mine's operator UK Coal said.

The second man who was trapped by his leg was rescued by fellow miners working underground.

Last night's incident came on the eve of the funeral of the first of the men who died earlier this month following the flooding of the Gleision Colliery in Cilybebyll, Pontardawe.

A police spokeswoman said: "At around 7.30pm, two miners were brought to the surface by North Yorkshire Ambulance Service and the mine rescue team.

"One man in his 40s and from the West Yorkshire area was taken to Pinderfields hospital with minor injuries.

"Sadly, the other miner, a man in his 40s from North Yorkshire, was pronounced dead at the scene."

The tragedy will be investigated by specialist mine inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive and North Yorkshire Police, the spokesman said.

Speaking outside the mine, Gareth Williams, managing director for coal mining for UK Coal, said: "UK Coal can confirm a fall of roof occurred at 4.35pm which trapped two of our colleagues.

"Colleagues successfully recovered one of the two employees trapped by the lower leg.

"UK Coal regrets to confirm the second colleague was confirmed dead by our own team, despite our best efforts."

While the rescue was going on, family members who did not know if loved ones were involved gathered at the mine entrance, some of them in tears.

Two sisters wept with relief when they were told by their grandparents that their father was safe.

Leanne and Abby Crowther hugged and sobbed as they heard the good news.

Leanne said they had been waiting for news about her father Martin since 5pm yesterday.

She said: "It's been horrible. We've just been sat at home beside ourselves. We've had no phone calls or anything."

The family said Mr Crowther was a fourth-generation miner who was on the miners' rescue team.

"Chances are he'll have dragged whoever it is out," Leanne said.

A sign at the site read: "Welcome to Kellingley, where safety comes first.

"Remember, think safety every hour of the day. Britain's best miners work at Kellingley."

UK Coal evacuated 218 workers from the mine last year after methane gas seeped into the area and ignited.

Ian Cameron, 46, died at the colliery after an equipment failure in October 2009.

At the time, UK Coal received summonses from the Health and Safety Executive relating to four deaths in separate incidents at its collieries.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper fought back tears as she told Labour supporters there had been a mining accident on the edge of her Pontefract and Castleford constituency.

Apologising to the audience for planning to cut short her appearance at a party conference fringe event she said: "There has been an incident at a colliery on the edge of my constituency.

"There are reports of two miners trapped underground."

She added "they are working hard to..." before her voice cracked with emotion.

Later in a statement she said: "This is terrible and tragic news.

"All my thoughts tonight are with the family, friends and workmates of both miners involved in this accident at Kellingley.

"The entire community will be devastated by this and I know everyone will want to support the families at this dreadful time."

The UK Coal colliery, near Knottingley, West Yorkshire, is the largest remaining deep mine in Yorkshire.

Its two main shafts are almost 800 metres deep. Only one of them is used by miners, the other is used to transport coal.

It supplies local power stations and produces some household coal.

Press Association

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