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A miner was seriously incapacitated last Friday in a roof collapse at the Unity drift mine, in the Vale of Neath, Wales. The mine is just eight miles from the Gleision Colliery in the Swansea Valley, where four men died last month.
Wayne Morris, a 48-year-old miner, had been working with a group of up to eight others roughly one mile underground when the roof collapsed, trapping him under the rubble.
A rescue team was called out at approximately 9:30 a.m., and Morris was brought to the surface by colleagues before being airlifted to a hospital in Cardiff with suspected crush injuries to his spine and pelvis.
The occurrence come’s one month to the day after Charles Breslin, 62, David Powell, 50, Garry Jenkins, 39, and Phillip Hill, 45, died at Gleision Colliery on September 15. They were killed when a retaining wall holding back underground water failed, flooding the tunnel where they were working 90 metres underground. A post-mortem found they had drowned.
And in a new development a pit manager who survived the flooding incident in which the four miners died has been arrested on suspicion of gross negligence and manslaughter.
Malcolm Fyfield, 55, was held by officers from South Wales Police investigating the accident at the Gleision Colliery near Swansea last month.
According to some reports, Morris is the second worker to have been injured at the mine this year, following an incident in which falling shale broke the leg of a miner in March.
It is more than 25 years since the defeat of the year-long miners’ strike of 1984-1985, which saw mass pit closures and job losses, and the privatisation of the little industry that remained. Over the last years, the price of coal has soared, making its extraction extremely profitable, the question we must ask is the miner’s safety now being compromised.”