York & North Yorkshire

Miner killed in Kellingley Colliery roof fall

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Media captionUK Coal executive Gareth Williams confirmed the death of a miner at the Kellingley Colliery

One miner has died and another has been rescued after they were trapped by a roof fall in a North Yorkshire pit.

The two men became trapped up to their waist by debris at Kellingley Colliery, near Knottingley, on Tuesday afternoon.

North Yorkshire Police said the miner who died at the scene was in his 40s and from North Yorkshire.

The second man, who suffered minor injuries, was also in his 40s but from West Yorkshire. The men's names have not yet been released.

The injured man was taken to Pinderfields Hospital for treatment.

Kellingley, which is managed by UK Coal, is one of Britain's deepest remaining mines.

Gareth Williams, UK Coal's managing director for mining, said the roof fall happened at 16:35 BST.

He said: "Colleagues successfully recovered one of the two employees trapped by the lower leg. UK Coal regrets to confirm the second colleague was confirmed dead by our own team, despite our best efforts."

'Terrible and tragic'

An investigation by specialist mine inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and officers from North Yorkshire Police will be carried out at the pit.

The colliery employs about 600 staff and its two main shafts are 800m (2,600ft) deep.

Part of the mine where the accident happened is called 501 Tailgate and is understood to be three miles lateral distance from the entrance to the pit.

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service said it received a 999 call at 16:51 BST to a report of two men trapped underground at the colliery.

"We deployed a specialist hazardous area response team who are trained to work underground," a spokesman said.

Image caption Kellingley Colliery is one of Britain's deepest remaining mines

"They went with two doctors, a rapid response vehicle, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and an incident officer is also on the scene."

A spokesperson from North Yorkshire Police said all emergency services had been at the scene, along with UK Coal.

The MP for Pontefract and Castleford, Yvette Cooper, fought back tears as she told Labour supporters at a party conference fringe event that there had been a mining accident on the edge of her constituency.

The shadow home secretary apologised to the audience in Liverpool for cutting short her appearance.

She later said in a statement: "This is terrible and tragic news.

"All my thoughts tonight are with the family, friends and workmates of both miners involved in this accident at Kellingley.

"The entire community will be devastated by this and I know everyone will want to support the families at this dreadful time."

A decision on her planned speech due at the conference on Wednesday will be made later.

'Brave rescuers'

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said he was "immensely saddened" by the news.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the miner who died and with his colleague who was also trapped, the brave rescue teams and emergency services who attended the scene, and the wider UK mining community at this time," he said in a statement.

Kellingley supplies coal to local power stations and produces some coal for households.

On 30 November 2010, 200 workers were evacuated from the pit at Kellingley after a methane explosion underground.

Miner Ian Cameron died after equipment fell on him on 18 October 2009 and in September 2008, Don Cook died in a rock fall.

Health and Safety Executive statistics show there had been seven deaths in mining accidents in the UK since 2007, before the accident earlier this month in which four men died when a Swansea Valley colliery flooded.

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