Families and survivors still seek answers to Gleision mine disaster | Wales

Bereaved families and survivors of a south Wales As the mining tragedy, in which four people lost their lives exactly 10 years ago, was unveiled with a ceremony in memory of the miners, they called for more research into the disaster.

Relatives say they still have no answers as to why loved ones were killed at the Gleision colliery on September 15, 2011, one of Britain’s worst mining disasters in recent years.

Philip Hill, 44, Charles Breslin, 62, David Powell, 50, and Garry Jenkins, 49, died when 3,000 cubic meters of water, enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool, spilled onto their location in the Swansea valley. Study.

“We really need a full investigation,” said Mavis Breslin, whose husband Charles died. Photo: Gareth Phillips/The Guardian

Speaking at the ceremony outside the parish hall in the village of Rhos, where Breslin was waiting for news of the male families’ rescue attempt 10 years ago, Breslin’s wife, Mavis, said she felt cheated by a husband and answered why she died. .

“I really don’t know what happened that day all this time,” he said. “I don’t understand why there is so much water just behind the wall the guys are working on. We really need a full investigation to get these answers.”

The monument is a dram filled with coal mined at another mine in the area – a mining truck – perched on tracks under a row of oak trees.

The monument - a drama (mining truck) - was unveiled in Rhos on Wednesday.
The monument – a drama (mining truck) – was unveiled in Rhos on Wednesday. Photo: Gareth Phillips/The Guardian

A band played traditional Welsh tunes as the drama opened, which was watched by some of the rescuers trying to save the men, as well as family members and friends of the victims.

Reverend Jayne Shaw, who led the ceremony, said it’s a day to be proud of men and what they stand for. He said the impact of the disaster is still felt by the wider community, not just those close to men.

A local band plays during the ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the Gleison mine disaster.
A local band plays during the ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the Gleison mine disaster. Photo: Gareth Phillips/The Guardian

Peter Hain, former Wales secretary and then MP for Neath, said: “There has never been a proper explanation from security authorities, mine inspectors or the government. This remains a great and haunting tragedy.”

On the day of the tragedy, explosives were detonated to demolish a coal face 275 meters from the entrance to improve the site’s ventilation and extend the useful life of the site, one of the last small mines in south Wales.

Three of the workers managed to escape or crawl away. The four of them were caught in the dark, cold, mud-filled stream of water and had no chance of escaping.

Malcolm Fyfield, the colliery manager who was working at the mine at the time, burst into tears after the incident. not be found guilty He was tried on four counts of manslaughter in 2014 after a three-month trial in Swansea royal court. The owner of the mine, MNS Mining, was also cleared of corporate manslaughter charges.

Fyfield said he had examined the back of the coal face three times, the last time the day before, and did not find any significant water there. The water must have migrated from the porous sandstone to the site within hours of its last inspection. A full investigation has not been done.

John Warman, mayor of Neath Port Talbot, talks about the four miners who died in Rhos.
John Warman, mayor of Neath Port Talbot, talks about the four miners who died in Rhos. Photo: Gareth Phillips/The Guardian

Survivor Jake Wyatt, who worked as a plumber at the mine, told BBC Wales: Trapped Underground: The Gleision Mine Disaster: “I think all this was going to be swept under the rug. Nobody wanted to know anything about it, and from such a high-profile case to nothing in a few years.”

Wayne Thomas, a representative of the National Union of Mineworkers in South Wales and a close friend of two of the deceased men, said it was gratifying to know that people are still standing by to honor the miners who lost their lives. He added that it was appropriate for the monument to be next to a community center that can be used by people of all ages.

“I hope it becomes a focal point where people can think about what’s going on,” he said.

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