Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

12 erthygl ar y dudalen hon




*—— 9 I FRIGHTFUL COLLIERY EXPLOSIO-LOSS OF ABOUT 200 LIVES. I On Friday afternoon a most lamentable accident occurred at Messrs Pavid Davies and Sons' Ferndale Col- liery, in the Rhondda Fach, Glamorganshire, by which it is feared nearly 300 persons have perished. At the time of the accident some 350 to 400 persons were working in the pit, and out of that number some 50 or 60 had been rescued up to Saturday afternoon, and the remainder have perished beyond all question. The scene is most heartrending. The neighbourhood of the pit is thronged by thousands of persons, and that num- ber is continually increasing, for as soon as the occurence of the disaster became known the colliers from Messrs Insole's pit at l'orth, and those from the Great Western colliery, started 08 for Ferndale, in order to render any assistance which lay in their power. The friends of those who were at work in the colliery at the time of the accident r.ished from their homes as soon as the ill- fated news got abroad, and it is impossible to portray the anxious sorrow depicted in every face, and the scene around the mouth of the ill-fated pit is truly ter. rible. Whilst there was any hope or chance of saving a sin- gle life, every effort was used, but, beyond the number already stated as having been recovered, f all hope of those below is gone, and from the report of experienced managers, who have gone down into the pit, it will only be by a wonderful interposition of Providence that any more of the unfortunate colliers will be rescued alive. Amongst those who have perished is Mr H. Williams, the manager of the pit, whose lifeless body was amongst the first brought to the surface. His bo:ly was not at all burnt, death having been the result of suffocation, and his features were as calm and composed as though he weie peacefully slumbering. In another lot brought up, there was an aged man and four grown-up sous, all brought up in quick succes- sion and all lifeless Surely the cup of sorrow in that family is terribly full. An experienced manager who went down ou Satur- day morning declares that, though it has been his lot to witness the effect of many explosions, he never in his life saw such a heartrending scene as is to be witnessed below. At the time of the explosion there were thirty- five horses at work in the pit, and some of the poor brutes had portions of their harness still on, but every vestige of hair was burnt off as clean as if their bodies had been shaved. It is difficult to conjecture what has been the imme- diate cause of the accident, but it is feared that long im- munity from accident had made some of the colliers care- less, and so led to the accident. Certain it is that some of the hmps have been found open, but it is possible the force of the explosion may have blown them open. Four carpenters at work in a new stable there are said to have been using naked lights, and this is regarded as the cause of the accident. As the bodies were rec jvered, they were placed in cof- fins which were made on the spot, and as one ifter ano- ther was carried off, each followed by a procession of mourners through the picturesque valley, the sorrowful scene was really beyond description. One Saturday afternoon, the coroner for the county of Glamorgan, Mr G. Overton, empanelled a jury, and inspected the bodies of the dead. A visit to the desolate homes where they lay disclosed cases of the most dis- tressing character, whole families having been swept off. In one house, a father and three sons lay stretched in death as though they were calmly sleeping, and the fourth son lay dead a few doors off, leaving a young widow in an agony of grief. In another family of six that went out well and hearty in the morning, only one had been brought back alive, and he will be a cripple for life should he survive his injuries. Iu some houses the poverty of the occupants was so great that they were des- titute of the means of laying out the bodies, and conse- quently the corpses in all their ghastly disfigurement by on the stone floor covered with sacks. In one house two lads injured lay on the flflor as they were brought from the pits, the inmates fearing to touch them lest they should kill them too soon. In most of the house3 the distress and sorrow were intensified by the fact that others were to come to swell the list of victims. In all cases certificates of bu-ial were given and the funeral expenses, we believe, will be borne by the firm in whose Bt,i vice the unfortunate fellows have died. Orders were given by Mr Davies for an IInlimited supply of everything requisite for the injured from the shops in the place, but sad to relate, this generosity will not be largely drawn upon, for of aJ! tho 170 souls who were down the fatal pit, at the outside it is feared only two cau survive their injuries. As to the cause of the accident it would not only be premature, but rash, to venture an opinion, as until the fall in the main drift is cleared away and the whole of the workings open to inspection it will be impossible to obtain any data upon which to found a rational opinion. There is no evidence as yet to show where the gas exploded. The colliery, which has not long been in existence, has I oqii rapidly extended, and it is sunk to the celebrated four-foot seam of Merthyr steam coal, about 300 yards below the surface. In ordinary work the colliery em- ploys about 300 hands, nearly equally divided between the day and night shifts, and the most of them reside in the village, which is within a short distance of the pit. It has a population of about 800. and has sprung up so rapidly that many of the houses are still of wood. It may here be observed, because it will explain how it has happened, that the details of an event which took place on Friday last have not been given to the public sooner, that the Ferndale Colliery is five miles and a haif by road from the nearest station, Porth, on the Rhondda branch of the Taff Vale; and peisons starting from Merthvr or Cardilf at I a.m. cannot get to the colliery till after 11 o'clock. From Aberdare the distance is scarcely less, and the route over wild hills is one of the most rugged and trying that pedestrians can encounter in this county. On Sunday morning all hope of safety for those still below was abandoned, as the managers of other collier- ies who were down in the pit the greater part of the night, on reac ing the surface declared it to be an utter impossibility for any of the unfortunate workers to be still alive. It is believed that the explosion took place in a heading where some 70 collieries were at work, and that place becoming filled up, the only means of exit was cut off, and the remainder who were in the pit have been suttbeated by the after damp. Relatives and friends are naturally loth to accept the prevailing belief, and they still cling to the hope of many being rescued, One poor w,)min and they still linger about the pit. One poor woman was at the pit's mouth with an infant in her arms during the whole of Friday night, anxiously but vainly watching for her husband, who worked below, and it was not until Saturday morning that she consented to be led away. Mr Williams's death was evidently caused by suffocation, as he was not at all burnt, and his features were as placid and as composed as if he were asleep. His body was found with that of nine others, all of whom have been recognized by sorrowing relatives. In another lot there was an aged man and his four crown-up sons, all brought up in rapid succession, and all lifeless. The coal trade in this district has been in a depressed state for some time past, and several colliers from some of the small collieries in the neighbourhood of Porth have been working at Ferndale, and numbers of those who visited the pit on Friday and Saturday have had to walk several miles to obtain tidings, if possible, of relatives.

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