Wednesday 17 January 2018

Welsh mine accident: Four people trapped, three rescued

Benjamin Wright

A major rescue operation was under way today after four people were feared trapped in a mine.

South Wales Police said officers, along with fire and ambulance crews, were called to the Gleision Colliery in Pontardawe, Swansea, at 9.20am.

A police spokesman said: "Seven people were initially in the mine at the time, three of them got out - with one taken to hospital. His condition is currently unknown.

"It is believed the other four remain inside. A rescue operation is under way. As you can imagine, it is quite a dynamic situation."

The small hillside mine, near Cilybebyll, has been in operation since 1993.

Local councillor Arthur Threlfall, who serves on Cilybebyll Community Council, described the situation as very worrying.

He said: "I understand the injured man was taken to hospital via helicopter.

"The mine is in quite a remote spot. At the moment you cannot go anywhere near it because a large area around it has been cordoned off by the police.

"Gleision is one of those collieries that has open and shut many times, and they tend to work on the basis of when coal is found. However, it has recently been extended.

"This is the first mining disaster I have known for many years. There are not many collieries left like there used to be.

"However, it is a very worrying situation and it has shocked a lot of people."

Neath MP and shadow Welsh secretary Peter Hain also expressed his concern.

He said: "I am immediately seeking information on the miners' predicament.

"I am asking what action needs to be taken urgently by all relevant authorities to secure their safety."

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