Gleision deaths: Rescuers' shouts for survivors 'in vain'

Gleision mining victims Garry Jenkins, 39, Philip Hill, 44, David Powell, 50, and Charles Breslin, 62, all died

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Rescuers at a Swansea Valley mine have spoken how they called out in vain for survivors after the pit flooded.

Around 650,000 gallons of water swamped the Gleision mine near Pontardawe killing four men on 15 September, 2011.

On Monday, Swansea Crown Court heard how rescuers crawled through cramped underground conditions hoping to find survivors.

Pit manager Malcolm Fyfield and the mine's owners MNS deny manslaughter charges.

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We tried to find a pulse but he was so cold we didn't have a reading ”

End Quote Alun Watkins Paramedic

Paramedic Alun Watkins told the jury, when he arrived at the scene in an ambulance, survivor Mr Fyfield was driven to them in a 4x4.

Mr Watkins said: "We put him on a stretcher and into the vehicle. He was soaking wet, traumatised and cold. We tried to find a pulse but he was so cold we didn't have a reading at times. He was gasping for breath."

His condition was so serious they could not get a pulse. As Mr Fyfield was taken to hospital he vomited mine water.

Mr Fyfield also told the paramedics: "There's no hope for the others."

Rescue worker Peter Jones also told the court it took a day of pumping out water to reach the lower reaches of the mine.

The body of Gary Jenkins was found on a conveyor belt and the court was told there was not a mark on him.

Another rescuer, Brian Thomas, described the grim task of recovering bodies of the other victims and how miners believed Mr Fyfield escaped through old workings up a disused drift.

The case continues.

A map produced in court shows where the men were working in the mine

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