Miner killed and another rescued after colliery collapse in Yorkshire


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The Independent Online

A miner has been killed and another rescued following an accident at a colliery in Yorkshire yesterday.

The man died after a roof collapsed at the Kellingley Colliery, near Knottingley in West Yorkshire. The surviving miner was trapped by his leg, but was later rescued and treated. The colliery, which is operated by UK Coal, is the largest remaining deep mine in Yorkshire. Its two main shafts are almost 800 metres deep. Only one of the shafts is used by miners; the other is used to transport coal.

The accident comes soon after the tragedy in south Wales earlier this month when four men died following the flooding of the Gleision Colliery in Cilybebyll, Pontardawe.

A specialist hazardous area response team, trained specifically to work underground, was in attendance, according to the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Speaking outside the mine, Gareth Williams, managing director of mining for UK Coal, said a roof fell in at 4.35pm, trapping two miners.

"Colleagues successfully recovered one of the two employees trapped by the lower leg. He is now on the surface. UK Coal regrets to confirm the second colleague was confirmed dead by our own team, despite our best efforts."

While the rescue was still going on, family members gathered at the mine entrance, some of them in tears. A sign at the site read: "Welcome to Kellingley, where safety comes first."

The Kellingley Colliery has seen a number of accidents over the past few years. UK Coal evacuated 218 workers from the mine last year after methane gas seeped in and ignited. Ian Cameron, 46, died at the colliery after an equipment failure in October 2009.

At the time, UK Coal received summonses from the Health and Safety Executive relating to four deaths in separate incidents at its collieries.

Before it was announced that one man had died, the shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, fought back tears as she told Labour supporters at the party conference there had been a mining accident on the edge of her Pontefract and Castleford constituency.