herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Hopes fade for trapped miners as body is found

FEARS: No word from missing three in flooded shaft 300ft underground

Rescuers trying to free four miners trapped in a flooded pit have located a body.

But emergency services said they had not given up hope of finding the other three men alive in the Gleision Colliery in the Swansea Valley, Wales.

But they have been unable to recover and identify the body they have discovered.

Supt Phil Davies said at the scene this morning: "A miner has been found. He is deceased. We are not in a current position to recover him from the mine and therefore we don't know the identity of that person.

"This is a dynamic, ongoing operation and all emergency services are working hard to get all the miners out of there as soon as possible."

Chris Margetts, from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said the dead miner was found on the "exit side of the body of water" and that it was "quite possible the team has been split".



murky

Families of the trapped miners spent a "grim and harrowing night" as rescuers fought to reach them in their flooded pit in a shaft 300ft underground.

Divers trying to find the men were forced to abandon their attempt during the night, after being forced back by murky waters.

Local MP Peter Hain said rescuers faced a "really, really bad situation in the depths of the tunnel itself, with debris, sludge and dark, dark murky water".

"It is much more difficult than they hoped it would be. The divers have had to turn back, which is a worry in itself."

The specialist divers went into the Gleision Colliery, where the men have been trapped since yesterday morning, but had to abandon their efforts after about 30m.

The four trapped miners were named as Phillip Hill (45), Charles Bresnan (62), David Powell (50) and Garry Jenkins (39). Three others escaped.







RESCUERS



Rescue team member Gary Evans said: "We brought in some divers to see whether it was possible to go through and speed things up.

"They went about 20 to 30 metres, but they weren't able to go any further."

He confirmed there was still no contact with the men but said rescuers remained "very hopeful".

It was hoped that the miners had found an air pocket.

An emergency centre has been set up in the community hall in the nearby village of Rhos to cater for the families of the miners.

The Red Cross delivered blankets and pillows last night.

Former Labour cabinet minister Mr Hain said he had spoken with family members, many of whom were in tears.

He said: "You can't imagine what they have been going through.

"It has been a grim and harrowing night for the families."

hnews@herald.ie

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