Gleision deaths: Son of miner knew 'there was no chance'

Andrew Daniel Giles was working on the surface when the disaster happened

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The son of one of the four men who died when a Swansea Valley mine flooded has told Swansea Crown Court he "knew straight away there was no chance for them boys".

Surface worker Andrew Giles, the son of David Powell, 50, said he was in shock when he realised what had happened.

Garry Jenkins, 39, Philip Hill, 44, and Charles Breslin, 62, also died at the Gleision mine near Pontardawe.

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

Start Quote

"I couldn't speak for long because I knew my father was down there... I was in shock”

End Quote Andrew Giles

On the day of the disaster, 15 September 2011, Mr Giles said he heard a colleague, Nigel Evans, running out of the mine shouting.

"We stopped everything we were doing and ran around to Nigel and he said straight away to phone the police and mine rescue," he told the court.

Mr Giles called the emergency services at 09:21 BST, the court was told.

He said: "I couldn't speak for long because I knew my father was down there... I was in shock."

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

He then went into the mine through the main entrance with Nigel Evans.

"The water level was so much I knew straight away there was no chance for them boys," he told the court.

By the time Mr Giles returned to the surface mine manager Mr Fyfield had managed to escape.

The court has previously heard that Mr Fyfield was one of seven men working in the mine at the time of a controlled explosion and survived after he crawled out through sludge and dirt.

'Like a ghost'

The explosion had been carried out on as part of the mining process and the water swept through a closed-off section of the mine, the court has previously been told.

Mr Fyfield was "shaking, looking like a ghost, white as anything," Mr Giles said.

The manager had another miner's lamp as well as his own.

Under cross examination, Mr Giles recalled what he later told police and confirmed he described Mr Fyfield as a "really tidy guy".

Asked if he got on with Mr Fyfield, he replied: "Yeah, I did get on well with him".

The court has also been told water was always present at the mine.

On Thursday the court heard Mr Giles has been underground with Mr Fyfield on one occasion to check the water level in the older workings.

He was asked if he had seen water there.

"No, I could hear it. It was like a waterfall," he replied.

The case continues.

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