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MS backs calls for full a full inquest into Gleision Mining Disaster

22 Apr 2022 2 minute read
Memorial to Gleision Mine Disaster. Photo by Nigel Davies is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.

South Wales West MS, Sioned Williams, has backed calls for a full inquest into the 2011 Gleision Mining Disaster that claimed the lives of four mineworkers in the Swansea Valley.

The calls were presented in a letter to the coroner’s office for Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, from the families, mine owners and community representatives who were joined by Sioned Williams in a protest outside the office.

The renewed calls come after a report by a coal industry expert suggested that years of alleged failures by the regulatory bodies (HSE and Coal Authority) to enforce the regulations may have resulted in operators illegally working coal and not recording it on the mine plans over a long period.

A full public inquest was originally opened and adjourned in 2013.

In 2014, the manager and owners of the Swansea Valley mine were cleared of manslaughter charges.

Controlled explosion

Charles Breslin, 62, David Powell, 50, Philip Hill, 44, and Garry Jenkins, 39, drowned in 2011 when 650,000 gallons of water flooded the Gleision drift mine following a controlled explosion.

Sioned Williams said: “It has been over ten years since the waters flooded the Gleision Colliery and four men tragically lost their lives.

 “It is clear that the families who lost loved ones, those who have been investigating the circumstances of the Gleision Mining disaster, and community representatives feel strongly that the deaths of the four men who lost their lives need to be more fully investigated. I believe the Coroner needs to respect and acknowledge this strength of feeling by fulfilling their wishes.

“Valid and important new questions have been raised about what led up to, and  what happened at the Gleision Colliery, questions that an inquest might consider in order to understand whether this was a preventable tragedy.

“The families in particular, and the wider community more generally, deserve answers to these questions, having suffered such a terrible loss. A full inquest is needed in order to finally bring closure to the families of the victims, all those linked to the mine, and to the whole community.”

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