Second Welsh miner found dead after colliery flood

16th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Rescuers searching for a group of miners trapped by flash flooding in a colliery in Wales on Friday said they had found a second body but two other men remained missing.

The second dead miner was discovered at 12:15 pm (1115 GMT) in the remote hillside coal mine near Cilybebyll, south Wales, more than 24 hours after the four men were trapped by flood waters which broke through a retaining wall.

"A second miner has been found and tragically he was also deceased," police Superintendent Paul Davies told reporters at the mine.

"The families are in extreme grief."

The first dead miner was discovered during rescue efforts overnight to help the men stuck 90 metres (295 feet) under the surface with what local lawmaker Peter Hain described as "debris, sludge and dark, dark murky water".

Efforts continued on Friday to find the remaining two men and Davies stressed it was "still an ongoing search and rescue operation."

Seven men were in the mine when it was hit by flooding but three managed to get out. One is in hospital in a critical condition and two others are helping with the rescue.

The accident has shocked the tight-knit community in south Wales, which had not experienced a mining accident for years due to the almost complete disappearance of the industry following a period of rapid decline in the 1980s.

"Everybody is rallying round but everybody is traumatised because they have not known this horror now for a generation or more," said Hain.

Wales was once a coal mining heartland but only a handful of collieries remain.

The families of the miners -- Phillip Hill, 45, Charles Bresnan, 62, David Powell, 50, and Garry Jenkins, 39 -- spent a harrowing night in temporary accommodation waiting to hear any news.

Fire service spokesman Chris Margetts said that the mine had now been largely cleared of flood water and the main job was searching through the debris. Oxygen levels were good and damage was minimal, he added.

Late Thursday when the colliery was still badly flooded, divers were sent into the murky waters but only got about 30 metres (100 feet) before having to turn back.

© 2011 AFP

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