The nation of Wales was in mourning today as news emerged that all four men trapped by flooding to the Gleision Colliery, near Swansea, had perished.
The miners – Phillip Hill, Charles Breslin, David Powell and Garry Jenkins – were killed after a retaining wall collapsed, flooding the private mine.
Three men escaped with one raising the alarm, the four men left behind became trapped – they were all from the Swansea area.
Families of the victims, who had gathered at the nearby community centre, were left devastated as news of the deaths filtered through.
In a tragic twist it emerged that one of the men who had escaped was the father of one of the victims.
Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said :”This is a distressing day for all involved,” she added: “This tragedy has touched everyone in what is a very tight-knit community. Having just met the families, I know they take great comfort in the messages of support they have received from not only the UK but across the world.”
Rescue services had employed the most up to date equipment in an effort at locating the trapped miners. However the NUM has repeatedly expressed concerns about safety in small privately owned mines.
Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
“The people of Wales, and indeed people across the world, stand together in solidarity with the families through this terrible tragedy.
Mr Jones thanked everyone who had taken part in the rescue attempt and added: “All that was humanly possible was done,”
“We thought in south Wales that the days of mining accidents were behind us, but we were wrong,”