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From this dip road, shown on plan as Main Dip, a level heading, called Stephen's, was driven partly below, and towards the old workings containing

water.

The seam, a section of which is attached hereto, on account of the porous nature of the bed of sandstone rock lying a few feet above the coal, produces a large quantity of water, which enters the rock at its outcrop and naturally finds its way through it to the lowest workings.

METHOD OF WORKING.

The method of working is known in the coalfield as “double road stall system.” In this system, as applied at this colliery, two roads are turned 14 to 16 yards apart, off a narrow level heading, and are driven a few yards to the rise of the seam, when a connection driven from one to the other is made and the face" thus formed is then worked on.

The rubbish produced in the working of the coal, and in ripping the roof to provide sufficient height on the roads, is packed between the stall roads to assist in keeping up the roof and to carry the ventilation to the “face.”

The seam did not produce fire-damp and was worked by naked lights.

PERSONS EMPLOYED. About 43 persons were employed in this colliery in two shifts, 28 of whom were in the colliery at the time of the accident.

THE INUNDATION.

As previously stated, the inundation occurred at 2.45 p.m. on 26th June, 1906. I heard of the accident on my arrival home at 6.30 p.m, through a telegram from the manager which awaited ime. I left by the next train and arrived at the colliery about 8.40 p.m. My senior assistant, Mr. Dyer Lewis, soon after joined me, and Mr. Trump came the following morning.

I was informed that the work of coal-getting was going on as usual, when about 2.45 p.m. the news reached the surface that water had broken through into Cox's stall and flowed along Stephen's heading, down the main dip, and filled Humphrey's heading and the main dip up to a point some 10 or 11 yards above the mouth of Stephen's heading.

The first intimation of what had occurred was given by John Cox, who was in the stall when the water broke in.

The manager and others at once went down the main dip to the water from which they assisted some men. After counting those who had escaped it was found that eight men were missing.

As it was impossible to get into Stephen's heading from the main dip they went in along the airway, and found two colliers at the face of the second stall, who said they had made an attempt to get out by going down their stall, but had been prevented by the water. If they had tried, they could have gone out through the airway, as they afterwards did. As soon as these men were sent out the exploring party proceeded down the stall to the water and made a way through an airway to the third stall, and from there they were able to go through each working place, but found no one. The only horse in the colliery was found alive and well in one of the stalls.

After the exploration, and judging by what the men who had escaped told us, we naturally concluded that the six men unaccounted for had been washed away,

and their bodies would be found in the main dip.

The pump, which had kept the mine drained, having been drowned by the inrush of water, the only means at hand of dealing with the water, pending the

arrival of a fresh pump, was by filling the steel box trams, and taking them to the surface. This was continued throughout the night, but failed to cope with the water produced, which rose to about 18 to 20 yards above Stephen's heading.

The pump and pipes generously lent by Mr. W. W. Hood, the managing director of the Glamorgan Coal Company, Ld., arrived at the colliery about 7 a.m. on 27th June, and was started to work at noon. On the 29th the water had been lowered sufficiently to enable an inspection of Humphrey's heading to be made, when the bodies of three of the men, viz. :— Edward Manley, Thomas Edwards, and John Morris, were found.

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Pumping was continued until the 1st July, when all the water was got out of the dip, but no more bodies were found. It then became evident that the three men must have made their escape by way of the hole the water had burst through, and had gone into the old workings. A search was at once made and at 11.30 p.m. two of the men were discovered alive in the old working marked B on plan.

These men said the missing man Hathway had been with them until two days previously, but that he had become delirious, and had left them saying he was going to swim home. All the old workings were carefully examined, and about 3.30 p.m, on 2nd July his body was found in the lower part of the old dip. He had fallen into the water and had been drowned.

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One of the rescued men was so little the worse for his long fast and imprisonment—five days and eight hours—that with a little assistance he was able to walk out of the colliery, but the other man had to be carried.

We were told by these men at the inquest that when the water broke in they were between Cox's stall and the face of Stephen's heading, and that as soon as the heavy rush ceased, they tried to get out to the main dip, but were prevented by the water. The three men then went through the hole made by the water into the old workings, and very soon afterwards their lights were extinguished, and they wandered about in the dark.

When we were making an examination on 29th June, of the neighbourhood of the outburst, one of our party went about 30 yards up the old road B and returned saying his light had been extinguished by foul air. When he turned back he must have been within 30 yards of the three living men, who I think must have been in a comatose condition through the carbonic acid

gas

in the air, or they would have heard him walking about.

As is usual in such catastrophes, plenty of willing helpers, both managers and workmen, came from the neighbouring collieries, and did everything that lay in their power to expedite the unwatering operations, and the recovery of the living and the dead. In many instances they had repeatedly to work in icy cold water up to their shoulders.

I and one of my assistants, Mr. Trump, made frequent inspections of the underground operations until the last body was recovered.

On the 29th June I made an inspection of all the workings, including the stall where the inrush of water occurrea. I found that three double-road stalls had been at work off Stephen's heading, and that two inner stalls had been turned to the rise, the outer of the two had been opened out to the left hand side with a view to forming another double-road stall when a connection had been made with the inner stall.

It was in the left-hand side of the outer of the two stalls, called Cox's stall, that the water had broken through. The stall had approached to within 2 feet 4 inches of the old dip, when the water burst through in the shale between the coal and the sandstone rock. The stall had been opened to a width of fifteen feet.

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Weller & Graham.Ltd Litho London

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Shale

Coal

1. 2.

ELREGLAX

Fred. A. Gray.

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