Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

34 erthygl ar y dudalen hon


Rhestrau Manwl, Canlyniadau a Chanllawiau

I DEATH IN THE PIT l I R I CAGEALLSONANOTHROAGEI ELY VALLEY DISASTER I Graphic Stories Told I Two cages fell into the samp at the Ely Colliery, Penygraig, yesterday mortningr. As reported in yesterday's "Evening Express," the acddeaiit was oattsed by the winding machinery going wrong. with the result that the ascending cage crashed into the sheaves and the descending oage, with its human freight, wiaspreoipataited. to the bottom. The impact was terrific. Sma.shing the pheaves, the Toward cage broke the rope, and it then fell down the shaft, a dd-stance of between 400 aind 500 yards, on top of the cage below. The latter contained 24 men, five of whom were instantaneously killed, and one, Thomas Morgan, died later from his injuries. The remainder, with four other men at the pit bottom, were severely mauled, sustaining- fractures of limbs and bruises. The experiences which the poor fellows underwent were something indescribable. The lights in their Lamps had been extinguished, and a scene of the wildest commotion pre- vailed, and most of the unfortunate men thought that they had met their doom. Doubt- less the commotion which prevailed not only added horror to the situation, but in the wildnesfl of the moment probably many of the injuries were received, while the injuries of the others were greatly aggravated. The occupants of the cage had been ruth- lessly huddled together. One of them after- wards stated that ha was pinned underneath five or til others who had sustained broken arms and legs, and thus were in agony of pains and unable to get off, and his effortts at extricating himself were of no avail Thus they remained in the pitchy darkness for a time which appeared to them to be ages, bUt really only a very short period elapsed, as there were, as is usual on these oocaeions, plenty of willing helpers, who were at all risks to themselves ready to render what assistance could be given to same their comrades from the perilous position in which I they were placed. The Work of Rescue This was by no means an easy task, and certainly was far from being free from danger. The empty cage in its downward flight had torn the lining of the shaft to pieces, so there was no knowing the moment when the overhanging timbers, Ac., might fall and add to the list of fatalities. The miner, however, is noted for his bravery when occasion calls forth his heroism. and the present was no exception to the rule, and at risk of life and limb the men hurried without thought of their own safety to the assistance of the men who were in- "vclved in the wreckage. These were, indeed, literally imprisoned, and were absolutely unable to do anything i for themselves. They were piteously moan- ing, as every little movement caused excru- ciating pains to the poor fellows. It was, indeed, as one of them put it, this that in a way brought them to their senses, as they were so stunned at first that they were unable to re&Lise what had happened. I llteous appeals were also made for water, and the scene was one which baffles descrip- tion. Uhder the circumstances, it is regarded ny "experienced mining engineers at marvellous tha.t the list of fatalities is comparatively so short, and there were some miraculo-is escapes. For example, one lad in the upper deck of the ill-fated cage, where practically every one of the others were victims to terrible injuries, including the five killed on the spot close by him, escaped Low. neither he nor anybody else can .exulain. The rescue work proved a rather slow pro- cess. The cage protection gates had first to 1)C opened by the hitcher. Had the entrance not been previously secured probably many of the men would have been thrown out, and would have been exposed to the second fall- ing cage and other materials which came down in great quantities. As it was, how- ever, the work of extricating the men proved arduous and painful to a degree. Their piteous cries are described as heartrending whenever an attempt was made at removing them. Those in the lower bond were oaged in by the walla of the BUmp. so that the only meajie of getting a.t them was by •digging into the sump. Injured Man Assists in First-Aid W'hile the number of injured men as "recorded on the pit-top, and whose names are given below, number altogether 23, in addition to the five killed, the investigations of the management show that there were really only 24 in the cage altogether, and it is explained that the other four must have been injured on the surface, where portiona of the smashed sheaves and other materials simply rained about the place. The rop,- also, getting fouled, whirled about, causing a portion of the wall of the engine-house to fall. Great masses of debris, including portions of the sheaves, also fell down the shaft, and added to the danger of those below, as well as increasing the damage. The value of a knowledge of ambulance Was exemplified in a particularly striking iranner. A remarkable presence of mind was manifested by two of the victims—the brothers Davies. When light was procured, after a period of distraction and suspense which can be better imagined than described, one brother could see the bone protruding through his clothes. The brave fellow, who had a thorough knowledge of first-aid, after assisting in the bandaging of lÚs brother's leg, actually superintended and assisted in binding up his own fractured limb. The unselfishness shown, too. was simply touch- ing. "You look after the others," was the characteristic pleading of one of the victims, who himself was badly injured; "I can do all right, and I can wait." The damage done t? the p!ant and shaft must be very considerable, and the manage- ment cannot as yet give any idea as to the real extent, and, in fact. they will not be able to do so until fwme of the broken machinery and ropes and cages have been replaced, so as to make descent practicable. Bringing Out the Bodies It was, of course, impossible for either the uninjured men in the workings or the victims to be brought up to the bank by the same shaft. This had to be done through the Pandy Pit, where thousands of men, women, and children oongregat.ed in the early pari, of the day to get tidings as to the fate of those below, as it oould not then be ascer- tained who the victims were. However, the pithead was deserted about midday, except by the workmen engaged in repairs. The Ely is one of the oldest collieries in the district, and engages about 820 men. Origin- ally it was worked by an independent com- pany, but was afterwards taken over by the Cambrian Colliery Trust, when the big com- bine was brought about. At the Pandy Pit, where the bodies of the dead. together with the injured men, were brought to bank, thousands of people assembled from all parts of the valley. Good order was kept by Inspector Hall and his men. A reverent silence prevailed as the dead men were carried to their homes by their com- rades, and it was a pathetic sight to witness women following their husbands as they were carried home on stretchers. The suffer- ings of the injured were considerably relieved by the presence of ambulance men on the spot. List of th-c Killeo Morgan Evans, collier, Williamstown. Thomas Brown, Gr^igyreos, Penygraig. Alfred Watkins, collier, Turberville-road, Penygraig. Eennie Atkins, collier boy, Penygraig. Gideon Chapman, Edmondstown. Thomas John Morgan, Cornwall-street, Pen- ygraig (died at the hospital). Inj ured The following are those who were injured:- I Thomas Williams, Penygraig, Phil Pascoe, Penygraig. Thomas Darias, Penygraig. Da-niel Davies and John Davies, Penygraig (brothers). William Thomas, Williamstown. David John Fry, Williamstown. Noah Matthews, Dinas. Andrew Thomas. Tonyrefail Thomas Lewis, Penygraig. William Martin, Penygraig. David Davies, Penyeraig. Joseph Latcham, Penygraig (married). John Pry, Tynyoae (father of D. J. Fry). Thomas Morris, Penygraig. Thomas Morgan, Williamstown. John Jones, Penygraig. Willia,m Belmont, Penygraig. Robert Morgan, Tonypandy. Thomas Matthews, Trealaw. John Odgers, Penygraig. Solomon Lane, Pernygraig. E. H. Coles, Williamstown. Directors' Sympathy It should be added that Mr. Trevor Price, the assistant general manager, who was in charge of the operations, in the absence of Mr. Leonard W. Llewellyn, who was away in Scotland on a well-deserved holiday, worked incessantly, and was in.defatigable in leading rescue parties, while Mr. Hollister, the manager, also worked hard. Mr D. A Thomas, M.P (chairman of the combine), together with Mr. T. J. Cbllagliaii idiBjctor) and Ifr. C. A. Pullin (secretary), -'MIA.d- Oardiff to the scene. Mr. Thomas, on behalf of the directors, desires, through the "Western Mail," to convey the deepest sympathy of the directorate with the injured men and the relatives of the deceased work- men. Among1 those who were also in early attendance were Mr. D. Watts-Morgan, miners' agent, who was preparing to attend ,heii he heai-d of a meeting at Cardiff, when he heard of the terrible event, o,icl ii, onoe left Portli for the scene. Mr. Tom Evans, the miners' sub-agent, was also present. Cause of the Accident Mr. Fred. A. Gray (chief inspector of mjnes),I and Mr. F. J. Tramp (a.sei?.ant inspector) were also presBnt, who had a consultation with the officials. Mi-. Gray said he preferred nit to give an official report as to the cause of the accident. It transpires, however, that the actual cause was the breaking of the spanner bar of the reversing gear. Mr T. Price, the assistant general manager, said that the immediate cause of the accident was over-winding, but what was the originating cause it was too soon to say. He wanted to make it explicit that Z4 men were involved in the mishap, as far as the occupants of the cage were concerned. The other four men who had been injured must have had their injuries through splinters or some debris falling upon them on the surface when the empty cage struck the sheaves. Not Expected to Live I Drs. P. R. Llewellyn, Gabe Jones, Alfred Jones, and Weichart descended the it and attended the injured men. Dr. Llewellyn stated that, four of the men who were sent to hospital were suffering from compound frac- tures, while amputations would be necessary in four or five cases. The most s-erious-ly in- jured is Harry Marshall, who sustain.ed a fracture of the base of the skull, and he is not expected to recover. All the occupants of the cage surfered injury either in the form of bruising or shock, but seven or eight oases are more serious. SURVIVORS' STORIES. Empty Cage's Crash Upon Injured Men The men who escaped relate their terrible experiences in the darkness. Daniel Davies, in an interview, eaid the scene was one beyond description. Pirsit of all came the big thump down to the bottom, and they were already rendered quite dis- tracted, when they x-ere horrified by the empty cage crashing through with tremen- dous force 0.1 top of the one in which they were imprisoned, and their being in total darkness added to the terrible experiences of all concerned. When ultima.tely light was brought to the oage, about the first thing he saw was a bone protruding from the thigh of his brother, David Davies. "You could see the naked bone," he said, "right through his trousers." So injured were they ail that any movement on the part, of anybody or anything caused the whole of them to groan piteously. "Something Horrible" Phil Paseoe, who. perhaps, was the least injured of Ù,) lot. wa.s equally graphic in his account of what occurred. Fortunately, he had only a slight shock, and was the first to give succour to his comrades. "But the heartrending screams," he said, were some- thing horrible. We were then at the bottom of the pit, and ou" cage had passed through some of the timbering, which prevented us being hurled down the sump. At last the hitcher came, and I was able to hand out man after man, and the experience was one I shall never forget." Men Screamed with Pain Thomas D. Thomas, a collier, of 34, Peny- graig-road. who was in the cage descending to work, said the first intimation he had of anything being wrong was a j .erkiii- of the cage. For a few seconds it swung about, and then went down like a stone to the bottom of the shaft. "We did not know exactly what had happened, but thought the sides of the shaft were falling in suddenly, and with a rush the empty bond was takeiv to the top, then came down with a crash, and was smashed to atoms. It was positively miracu- lous that any of us escaped with our lives. The horror of being in the pitchy dark- ness was awe inspiring. I thought my end had come, and being a widower, my first thought was for the four children depending upon me, the oldest being not yet fourteen. Lights were loudly called for, but could not be obtained for the moment owing to the danger of an explosion. When they were procured a terrible spectacle presented itself. Men were scattered a-jout in all directions, some being in such agony that they screamed with pain when touched. The injured called despair- ingly for water, and the whole see-no was something heartrending. There were plenty of men in the workings, who, at great risk to themselves, oommenced the work of rescue. Dr. Llewellyn, with a rescue party, wae soon on the spot, with ambulance and medical appliances, having descended by the shaft of the Pandy Pit. It will be scaie time," con- cluded Air. Thomas, "before I can return to work. My baok is bad, my hand and foot crushed, and the shock has quite unnerved me. Five Men on Top of Him William Fry, who, with his son, David John Fry, was in the cage, when interviewed in the afternoon as he lay ir, bed said: -"It came all so sudden. We went down like a stone. It was all over in a moment. We were huddled up together, and there were five men on top of me with broken bones and all sorts of injuries. I tried my best to extricate my- self, but oould not do &o. It was pitch dark, and our senses were really knocked out of us. so that I doubt very much if any of us can give an authentic account of what did occur. It was the groaning and shouting of the men in the two decks that made us first realise the nature or the catastrophe of which we were the victims. It was, I think, through being under the other men that I got my injuries, and I had to stay in this position for so long a time that I was numbed and helpless by tho. time I was taken out." OFFICIAL REPORT Cage Smashed to Atoms Mr Trevor Price, the assistant general manager of the Cambrian Combine, supplied the following official report of the accident to the press:— "The accident happened about. 5.45 this (Friday) morning, when the men, in the usual course of things, were descending the mine All of a sudden the ascending cage, when within a length to the top, was seen suddenly to fly upward a.t a rapid rate, with the result that the ascending cage came into contact with the sheaves on top of the head- gear, causing one of the sheaves to be broken to pieces, and at the same time snapping the winding rope a little above the cap. The result was that the empty cage fell. with tremendous force through the mouth of the pit down into the shaft. Simultaneously the men who were descending on the other side felt an unusual jerk. The cage dropped a little faster, when it sucldenlycame in con- tact with the landing beam. This first jerk seems to have caused a great deal of alarm, which, probably, accounted for a good many injuries. But what really did the great damage was the empty carriage falling from the top coming into contact with the side of the carriage containing the men at the pit bottom. After the accident it was discovered that five out of the twelve men on the top deck of the carriage had been killed, whilst among them was a little boy, who walked out unhurt. The twelve on the bottom deck, although more or less badly hurt, escaped fatal injury. The damage has been considerable, both on the surface and underground. Some of the stays of the head-gear have been broken away, two of the guide ropes and one wind- ing rope are broken, and two cages are so damaged that they will be unfit for use again, the empty one being smashed to atoms. We cannot say what the damage is in the pit itself, because we have been unable to descend the shaft to make, a proper exami- nation, owing to the guide ropes and sheaves being broken. We cannot make a proper examination for a good many hours, until these have been re-placed. Every one of the hitchers and the men happening to be at the pit bottom rendered valuable assistance in getting the men out of their perilous position. The pit having been literally torn and everything hanging out, no one knew at what moment some timber or beams might fall and strike them. Every- body who took part in the rescue work is to be highly commended. His Majesty's Inspector F. A. Gray and Assistant-inspector F. J. Trump examined both surface and underground. It is difficult to ascertain the exact cause of the aocident, it being up to the present somewhat inexplicable." I Amputations at Porth Hospital Four of the more seriously injured, Thomas John Morgan (since dead), John Dayies, Thomas Morris, and William Thomas, were taken to the Porth Cottage Hospital. Drs. Llewelyn and J. Naunton Morgan had to per- form amputations on three of the unfor- tunate men. Morgan had his arm ampu- taken off at the knee, and Morris's leg A-as taken o. at the knee, and Morris's leg was also amputated. Thomas suffered from com- pound fractures of both leg's, and an opera- tion of wiring the bones was performed in his case. I Joint Inquest A joint inquiry will be conducted into the accidllt by Mr. R. J. Rhys and Mr. p. Rees, coroners, as the bodies of victims lie in tbeir respective districts. Message from Home Secretary l Mr. F. A. Gray, Chief Inspector of Mines for Cardiff Distinct, received the following telegram from the Secretary of State:- Secretary of State learns with great regret of the accident at the Naval Colliery. Penygraig. Please eend full particulars to


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