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Family calls for inquiry over mine deaths

Posted in: Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries 

The family of one of the men killed in the Gleision mine tragedy has called for a public inquiry. Four men were drowned in the 2011 accident after 650,000 gallons of water flooded the mine they were working in following a controlled explosion. The parents of one of the men said they are still seeking answers.

Charles Breslin (62), David Powell (50), Philip Hill (44), and Gary Jenkins (39) were all working in the drift mine when the accident happened three years ago. A controlled explosion was carried out in the coal workings near Pontardawe to improve ventilation in the pit.  Despite an investigation – which had been carried out the day before the explosion to check for any underground water, of which only a ‘puddle’ was found – 650,000 gallons of water flooded the mine. All four men drowned in the incident.

“We only want to know what happened”

The parents of Mr Jenkins, Ann and Malcolm Jenkins, said that they still have a number of unanswered questions about what actually happened on the day of the accident.  Former miner Malcolm Jenkins wants to know why the decision was made to mine in the direction of the underground water. He added: “We only want to know what happened on that day”. 

The manager of the pit Malcolm Fyfield and the owners of MNS Mining were cleared of manslaughter. Neath MP Peter Hain said that because there was no full inquest into the incident, the families were left without a deserved explanation of what happened on the day. He said: “They do not seek vengeance and scapegoats and nor do I. All they have asked for is justice, but they have still not received that”.

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