The hooter was sounded from a steam engine
Media playback is unsupported on your device

Senghenydd mining disaster: Survivor used hat to stay alive

One of the 18 survivors of Britain's worst mining disaster told how he had to put his hat over his face to keep himself alive.

William Vizzard was in the Universal Colliery in Senghenydd on 14 October, 1913 when an explosion happened just after 8am.

It had been caused by a build up of firedamp (methane) gas being ignited.

The blast disturbed coal dust on the mine floor, raising clouds that then also caught alight, spreading the destruction further.

The fire was mainly confined to the west side of the mine, with the east side blocked with noxious gases. The result was over 400 men trapped underground.

Mr Vizzard fell unconscious but was rescued from the mine.

He was interviewed in the 1960s about the event.

Worst pit tragedy centenary marked

  • 14 Oct 2013
Go to next video: Mining disaster is remembered