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The late Fatal Explosion at…


The late Fatal Explosion at Risca. J ADJOURNED INQUEST. "] i, On Wednesday last, the day appointed for the resumption ii Of the investigation into the cases of the ill-fated colliers who h lost their lives by the explosion at the Black Vain pit, on the d 14th ult., the quiet village of Risca was the scene of more than v fesual excitement; and many, anxious to hear the result of the a I enquiry, assembled at the Albert Inn, where the inquest was t beld, during the day. The bustle consequent upon the holding of the inquest, and t »Vhich was confined to the immediate vicinity of the inn,âand c =the ploughed appearance of the churchyard, were the only in- r I dications afforded to the transient visiter, that Risca had so s 0 lately been the scene of such a horrifying catastrophe the r. frantic wail of the disconsolate widow, and the heart-rending I lamentations of bereaved parents, heard on the fatal day in al- I anost every part of the village, had, in some cases, now sub- t f sided into the calm and settled sorrow; whilst, in other in- c atances, the poignancy of grief had been blunted by the cares i t;ld anxieties of an arduous and toilsome existence. The ^customed avocations of the labourer and the artizan, which had ieen suddenly interrupted by the direful calamity, had I i Kiow been resumed and the entire locality, so lately vocal with > he piteous cries and dismal meanings of despair and wretched- ness, had now assumed its wonted tranquillity. jt The iury appointed to investigate the circumstances of this pdreajiful disaster, assembled at the Albert Inn about eleven i o'clock. at which hour the coroner also arrived. Sir Thomas Phillips, who was engaged to watch the proceed-. t ings on behalf of Messrs. Russell & Co., was early in attendance' and Mr. Owen, who represented the relatives of some of the deceased colliers, arrived soon after the commencement of the proceedings. The business of the adjourned inquest was commenced by Mr. Kesick, of Newport, reading the depositions of the wit- F nesses examined at the former meeting of the jury, on the 23rd i January, after which Sir Thomas Phillips rose and remarked: It may, perhaps, 1. Mr. Coroner and gentlemen of the jury, be convenient for me i now to state that I appear before you to represent Messrs. John > Russell & Co., and to watch the proceedings on their behalf. I may, perhaps, be permitted to remark to you that Messrs. Russell & Co. have, since the dreadful occurrence into which we are about to inquire, took place, themselves examined and investigated the circumstances attending it as far as they pos- sibly could, in order to ascertain if any party might be fairly charged with neglectâbut they have been unable to detect any negligence out of which it can be reasonably supposed that this dreadful calamity may have arisen but still it will be for you, Mr. Coroner, and the jury, to consider from the evidence that will be brought before you, if there has been any such neglect, and if so, who is the culpable person. The Company will, in order that you mey have the clearest possible knowledge of the L circumstances attending the fatal explosion, as far as they can L* now be brought to light, produce a plan of the workings; and they have also ordered that every witness who may be con- sidered to be able at all to elucidate the dreadful affair, shall be I f brought before you. We have, all of us, undoubtedly, but one object in view, and that is, to ascertain, if possible, whether v; this calamity arose from neglect, on the part of any individual, t or from what may be termed purely accidental causes. On Sir Thomas Phillips resuming his seat, f. Mr. Owen said,»he wished to take Sir Thos. Phillips' opinion ? as to whether, in the present investigation, it would be eligible for him to call witnesses to show that the men had been coerced J to work in this colliery when they had said they were afraid to t work, in consequence of the foul air. Sir Thomas Phillips said it would, perhaps, be convenient for Mr. Owen to state, at this stage of the proceedings, for whom he appeared. â Mr Owen: For the relatives of John Evans, deceased, and others. â T v Sir Thomas Phillips: In reply to [Mr. Owen, I wish to say that we are at present assembled to inquire, as far as possible, into the cause of the lamented death of the poor fellows who lost their lives in the late explosion. In this matter, the in. r terests of the master and the men are one: and in anxiety to ascertain, if possible, what led to this event, they feel alike. I [ am sure that the company feel the deepest sympathy towards | the suffering families and are as anxious as Mr. Owen, or any one else can possibly be, to detect the cause of the disaster. Let us. in our inquiry to-day, strive to find out if the accident resulted from any neglect, and if so, whether that neglect was continued for any length of time; but to go back to 1840 or 1842, thfe periods to which I suppose Mr. Owen is alluding, to ascertain if, at either of these times, the men were dissatisfied, and struck from any cause, seems to me perfectly irrelevant, and, therefore, entirely unnecessary and irregular. Why should we (and I am sure Mr. Owen will see the propriety of the ap- peal I make) go back even to 1844, and draw into our mvesti- â gation to-day matters which have no relation to the present in. H quiry, and which would be only likely to lead to angry discus- l sion, by exciting old animosities. The jury are sworn to inquire y into the death of James Gambel and the other poor fellows, killed by the late unhappy explosion and it would, therefore, ¡. be perfectly irrelevant to introduce matter which could not be shown to have any connexion with that inquiry. Mr Owen remarked, in reply I have only to say, Mr. Coro- 'â ner, to you and the jury, that I have been instructed that co- ercion has been used to compel men to work in this Black Vein '⢠p t, who had said they were really afraid to go dotvn and I have | .uken the evidence of a man, looking through the bars of a | prison into which he had been thrust for leaving these works, E who told me that he had been coerced to work in this pit, not- | withstanding he had said it was a most dangerous place to' work f in. The law of master and servant is sufficiently vagueâano i* the men are much in the power of the master; and if I am in- < strutted that it may be shown that men have been compelled to work in this pit against their will, and that a system of co- sreion has been persisted in at these works, I submit, with grc&t respect to you, Sir Thomas Phillips, that I have a right 4 to adduce such evidence on this occasion. If I can show that > by the use of compulsory measures, men were obliged to work f in this tit, I put it to you. Sir Thotnw, whether this may not I be taken as presumptive evidence that the cause of the acci- L dent existed some time before the accident took place. I Sir Thomas Phillips If Mr. Owen will persist in this course i âa course which I had sufficient confidence in his discretion L to hope he would see the propriety of abandoning, I can only say that it will be my duty, wnen the proper tune arrives, to object to any such evidence being adduced. I could hardly have 1 thought that it would have occurred to the mind of any human ht being, that the cause of the present accident existed in 1842 ? or 1W4: but if Mr Owen will persist in attempting to show < this, I shall, of course, feel it my duty to object to such evi dence when the proper opportunity presents itself. The Coroner Do you mean to insinuate, Mr. Owen, that the men have been continually coerced for two or three years ? t Mr. Owen I do not mean to say so but my instructions are that coercion has been continued for a very long time. Sir Thomas Phillips: I must beg Mr. Owen not to trouble us with what his instructions have been, but to state what he intends to prove; and if he still thinks well of calling such witnesses as he has referred to, he had better now proceed to do so. Mr. Owen here left the room to call a witness, but returned in a few minutes, saying he was not to be found. Sir Thomas Phillips therefore called Stephen Crook, who being sworn and examined, said -1 am employed in the Black Vein Pit, at Risca. I am a night fire- man. My duty is to go and see that the doors of the headings are all closedâin fact, to see that the air is kept in a proper current for the ventilation of the pit. I have assistants under me, and am authorised to send for more if I consider them necessary. Mr. Green is the agent, and I am responsible to him. I understand fire-damp, and when I discover any in the works, I stick up a cross, to indicate that the men must not go beyond that part without a lamp. Sometimes we have several men employed to keep the wind-ways clear. We have a number of lamps, and every man who asks for a lamp has one given to him. The men keep the lamps in their stalls. If a man wanted a lamp he would ask my brother, who is a day fireman, for one; and if he were not there, he would ask the person who was in his place. The lamps are provided by the owners of the mine. If I found the mine dangerous, I should tell the men that it was not fit for them to work in. On the 19th of Nov. last I found a top (fire playing around the top of the lamp) on my lamp in No. 5, and 6, cross headings. When there is a top on the lamp, it shows that the air is heavy. On that morning I told the men it was unsafe to go in. in tne r course of that day my brother and I again examined th On the SS«"*rx tEL'eSbS". «3f» & *'« <>»' -o-k to S?pt. last That ffcU Interrupted the ventilation about three or four dTys. With the exception of these two occasions-one in September and one in November-the men were not interrupted bv bad air in the pit, that I know of, up to the time of the ac- eident. I was on duty on Tuesday, the l3t1}^Thomas'Th«e before the explosion, as fireman, for my brother Thomas. There was no work done on that day, in consequenceofanaccident to the guiding chain. On the Tuesday I helped to get up the chain, and afterwards picked the pitâthat is, getting out any loose stuff that may have fallen. The chain was broken by a piece of mine falling on it from the side of the pit. un iues- day night, when I went on duty into the pit, I went to the river side. I sent William Hazel and Mark Sharing to see if all i was right with regard to the air on the mountain nae. l nej were engaged on that side until the morning. In the morning they told me it was all right for the men to go in. If thE' had found fire-damp, they would have told me, and I should have examined to see if it was right. Wm. Hazel and Mark Sharing i are persons working under me. Mark Sharing goes with me every night, and he knows the work, and understands the are. damp. On Wednesday morning I found that the air was passing properly through the works. The air goes down the downcast ir shaft, traverses round the works, and then passes up the up- I east shaft. The furnace increases the draft up the upcast pit. i I have never seen anv fire in James Lane's stall, which is in I No. 4 heading, on the mountain side. I had seen fire in James f Padfield's stall. John Masters worked with Padfield. They had two lamps given to them to work by. They had lamps given to them about two months ago, but since that time the air had got better, and one of the lamps was given back to the day fireman, because it was not wanted. After I had examined the pit on Wednesday morning, and found the air was right, the men went down to work. Some went down about ten minutes past six, and I came up at that time. I left a Crook on duty, as fireman, when I came up. He was on duty for Thomas Crook. I went back to the pit about halt-past eight, having heard that an accident had happened. 1 was one of the first that went down after the accident. W hfn I went down I saw that the doors were blown out. There are two t doors across the level heading on the mountain side, put there to direct the course of the air. I found 1 could not go on in the works for want of air, and went back and got a door. I know that after a fire the choke damp and sulphur affect the air, so that men cannot work in it; and it was so here. I put the door I had got across the level, to enable me to go on. Between the door and the first cross-heading I found a dead horse. The door of the next cross-heading-fcad been blown out b and we put it up, filling the spaces where it was broken with t hay. 'ihis sent the air further on. We could then pro- [ ceed to No. 3, cross-heading and found No. 3 door blown up the heading. We put up another door. "VVe then went on to No. 4, but found nothing particular. The door of No. 4 was also blown into the heading We put up another door. We found the air between No. 4 and à slack, and went back and put up another door between No. I and No. 2. I did not see the first twelve bodies that were taken out. Some other men went to get the bodies out, and I went back to attend to the ventilation. Whilst I was thus engaged the men r assed by me with twelve dead bodies of those who had been killed Some time in the afternoon I went up to .N0. 5, câ¢Ss"h^ I found a sheet hung up to drive up the air. On reaching No. 5,1 went into it about 40 yards, and were the bodies of men who had been working ,n heading 1*1* same afternoon there was anoithe th heading. The twelve bodies found first were those of the men who had worked in No. 6, heading. Th eJ,ooj>ot,i boy was J found in a stall of No. 5, heading. I fou^ n^othxng; el« Aat day. Having met with the bodies of my *»» J"?:h,tr"i?^S t the 13 I mentioned, I was obliged to be led out_of the ]?it and taken to bed. [ Here the witness evinced coa lf e"b/e eâ¢ot,1â¢-] Between eight and nine on Thursday, the 15th, iown into No. 0, cross-heading, but did not find any o T,aJ~ I was present on the Friday evening, when.the body of lsaac Bryant was found It was at the mouth of nis own stall. There was a little ruLbish on him. I did not examine his b<K.y_ On Saturday I was again in the work, and Isaac Lovel aud James Gullich were found in No. 9 stall, No. à cross-heading. Lovell and Gullich were found on the same day with the three Ban- fields. I was present when Lane was found on Saturdav night, the 17th. His body was found in the mouth of his stall, (which is No. 7, No. 4 heading), lying on his face, with his hands under him, about five or six yards from where he would haTe been at work. Curtis worked in the same stall with Lane. We looked for him on Saturday, but could not find him. On the Monday he was found lying on the gob (a heap ot rubbish fallen from the top) with his belt by his side. I do cot kmow if |is dress was open. In working, he would not have had to go on the gob. There was a space of eight or nine le«t atwTt the gob from where thw coal and rebbiih wd faUa. The fire-damp ascends, and it is very likely that it would have I i accumulated in a place like that. If any fire-damp had accu- 1 mulated there, it would have been dangerous to take a candle i there. The timber was blown down about four or five yards < in that heading There had been fire in Nos. 4, 5, and 6, < headings but I did not see any sign of fire in Nos. 1, 2, 3. I ] did not see any marks of fire in the level heading. The men I who had been at work in Nos. 1 and 2, that morning, came out alive and uninjured. There has been no permanent injury done < to the workâit may be all restored to as safe a state as before. Cross-examined by Mr. Owen :âI have been a fireman in that work between two and three years. There have been ac- cidents in the work before since I have been there. I do not remember how long ago. Two were burnt there. Francis Pis- secks was one of them. It may be eight or nine months ago. There was an accident there before, but I can't remember how long. A man called Walker was employed there about four years ago. When Walker was there there, was an accident, by which two men were killed. I do not recollect that Walker once came out of the pit, aud complained to Green that the pit was not fit to work in. Sir Thomas Phillips:âI am extremely loath to interfere, but feel that we should not go into irrelevant matters. Mr. Owen now asks questions upon a matter which took place in 1842â and upon which a coroner's jury sat; but what relation can these things have to the present inquiry ? In mercy to the coroner, to the jury, and to all, I would suggest that Mr. Owen ought not to go back to such a remote period as 1842. Mr Owen:âI ask, Mr. Coroner, will Sir Thomas Phillips" client be at all injured by such an investigation ? The public mind must be satisfied. I have, as I have before remarked, been instructed that the men have been compelled to go to work in these works when they were actually afraid to do soâ and is not such conduct likely to intimidate other men ? Sir Thomas Phillips:âThe government have sent down a Commissioner fully competent to investigate the state of the worksâand his report will fully satisfy the public mind. With regard to the men who were sent to prison, I shall show that they did not leave their work because they were afraid to work âfor so far from having any fear in their minds, they came back and asked for work in the same colliery. Mr. Owen :âSome of them went to work there again, be- cause they were fetched back from other works by a policeman. After some further discussion, the cross-examination of Crook was resumed as follows :âDuring the four years I have been there, I do not know that some of the workmen have com- plained that they were afraid to work because of the fire-damp. I never heard of Powell wishing to be discharged. I knew John Evans. Mr. Owen here asked the witness if he remembered John Evans having been sent to gaol some time beforeâbut was in- terrupted by Sir Thomas Phillips and the Coronerâthe latter gentleman deciding that Mr. Owen must not pursue that course of cross-examination. Mr. Owen assented to the decision, and proceeded with the cross-examinationâCrook stated I know there is fire when it flames at the top of the lamp, on the air being tried. The stalls are examined four or five times a week. I examined the air in the pit a night or two before the accident, and it was all right for the men to go to work. On the 19th of November, finding the air foul, I stopped the men from workingâbut thinking it was from the heaviness of the night, nothing was done to clear it. We left it to clear itself; and on the evening of the same day we put in the night men. There is no coal cut by night generally. About eight or nine men go down usually by night. A haulier goes down in the night to clear away the nbl ish Wm. Wyatt complained to me on the morning of the accident that there was a little fire in Isaae James' stall, but said it would not do any injury. He took a strange man in with him to look at the work; and he was showing him this stall when he discovered the fire; that was all. I should not like to work in that pit with a man who did not understand fire-damp. I would not refuse to work if a man who did not understand fire-damp was put in with one who did. Mr. Owen here again referred to J844, and was checked by Sir Thomas Phillips. Cross-examination resumed â¢âI found Curtis on the gob. I was the fiist man that went down; but can give no idea how the accident occurred. The pit is fit to work in now. Sir T. Phillips:âYou'll have a surveyor's report on that matter. Re-examined by Sir T .Phillips :âWhen Bissecks and ethers were burned, it was by a local fire called a flash; and in some hole or other there is always a little fire-damp. Mr. Deakin, mineral agent, Biaenavon, examined by Sir T. Phillips:â1 have be"n mineral agent to the Biaenavon Company for 45 years, during which time I have had charge of large coal and iron works. We have fire.damp at one part of our works. I am acquainted with the mineral district of Shropshire, and have seen much fire-damp there. I was in- formed that it would be satisfactory to the men and the masters if I gave my opinion. I have been down the pit this morning, but did not find more fire-damp there than in one part of Biae- navon works. I should not consider it a very fiery mine. I examined the ventilation, and found it very good. The air traversed the works very well. A man who carried a lamp be- fore me made a flash in a corner with his lamp. I did not see any danger; but think I might have carried a candle to any of the woi king places to-day without danger. We took the tops off the lamps because we considered it perfectly safe. There was no fire where the men who were killed had been working. I went through the work, and thoroughly examined the air- ways. I consider the fire must have originated in James Lane's stall, and extended itself through the wind-way through which I went, and in that manner communicated to Nos. 5 and 6 headings. There was more damage done in the heading near Lane's stall than anywhere else, and more appearance of vio- lence there than in any other part I saw. We examined the gob where Curtis was found, and the open space above it; and there was no fire there. I observed that the proprietors of the work are improving the ventilation by opening a communica- tion from the Black Vein pit into an old working and these improvements were began before the accident took placeâbut they had not had time to carry out the plan. The ventilation was to be improved by making openings on the rise of the work. "l*'° ,^as sufficient air in the work this morning to ventilate anv colliery I ever saw. Cross-examined by Mr. Owen If the doors were left open, or tires neglected, the pit might be in a bad state to-morrow, notwithstanding the present good state of it. I should not put an ignorant man, one who did not understand fire-damp, into a pit to work by himself. There should be sober and steady men employed. If I found that a man had neglected his duty I should discharge him. I consider that, if proper care is taken, the works at present are perfectly safe. I consider the air Ways large enough for the present extent of the works. The air is good to-day, and will be so to-morrow if care be taken, but without this, it will not be so. This being the conclusion of Mr. Deakin's evidence, Mr Russell, who was present during the greater part of the investigation, here stated that, in consequence of having heard that the men were desirous of having an opinion from Mr. Deakin, as to the state of the pit, he had written to him re- questing that if he was not employed to survey the works on the part of the men, he would come down and survey them for the Company, and give his opinion of their ventilation, at the inquest. James Cadman, examined by Sir Thomas Phillips I am a mineral agent, and have been employed in that capacity for 20 years or more. I am acquainted with most of the works of this county; and am manager of a work in which fire-damp is found. This morning I accompanied Mr. Deakin in his exami- nation through Nos. 4, 5, 6, and 7 stalls in the Black Vein pit. I concur entirely in the evidence of Mr. Deakin as to the ven- tilation of the pit. In reply to a question from Mr. Owen: I agree with Mr. Deakin's cross-examination as to the necessity for caution in working. William Rice Struv6 I am mineral surveyor for the Gover- nor and Company of Copper Mines of England, and a great number of other gentlemen. Among the coal mines I inspect there are scarcely any without fire-damp; and it is necessary to assist the ventilation with furnaces or by some other artificial means. I inspected the Risca colliery in May lastânot for Messrs. Russell, but for persons who proposed to acquire an interest in the works. I carefully inspected the colliery, and specially examined the ventilation, and reported that the ven- tilation was good with the then existing means. The air passes into the work by a down-cast shaft, and after ventilating the workings, escapes through an up-cast shaft, at the bottom of which is a furnace, the fire of which rarifies the air, creating a current through the works, and thereby securing a due venti- lation. If the dimensions of that furnace were increased, the current of air would be stronger. I have examined the works this morning, and have seen those parts to which the explosion extended. The same system of ventilation which I considered sufficient in May, continued up to the time of the accident, and still exists. I opened my lamp at the further end of the works to-day in No. 7 heading, to ascertain the velocity of the air, and found about 20,000 cubic feet of air passing through an aperture of six feet square, every minute. This was at the ex- treme end of the work, and and after the air had travelled a long distance. The air-ways are from four to five feet wideâ the upcast shaft is very largeâand the past and present venti- lation is quite sufficient for a larger work. When I was here in May kst, I was told that it was proposed to improve the ventilation of the pit, by connecting the present workimg with some old workings to the rise of the vein; which appeared to me a very desirable thing. It Is an object which must occupy time in its completion, because it is one which can be best car- ried out by the natural operation of the workings. It may, however, be expedited, should it be found necessary. I consi- der the pit perfectly safe for men to work in. I found no nre damp where I went. With reasonable care. I think there is no danger. There is no great risk in driving to the old workings ia the manner proposed, with the present ventilation. Cross-examined by Mr. Owen: The proposed alterations and improvements in the ventilation did not arise from any sugges- tion of mine. I thought the ventilation sufficient, as it then existed. I think the improvement very desirable, because the more openings you give to a colliery the better After this opening has been completed, there will be less necessityfor the use of the furnace. It would involve greater expense to do it hastily, than to do it gradually, but still I think it desirable it should be done at once. I cannot form any opinion as to the cause of the accidentâit may have arisen from various causes. If the indications of fire damp are attended to. the pit is safe. Joseph Green, mineral agent at Risca coal works, for Messrs. John Russell and Co., examined: I have been engaged at the Risca works for twenty-four yearsâthe first seventeen years as a workman, but for the last seven as a manager. During that time I have been employed in pits. I think the Black Vein pit has been sunk between four and five years. From the time it was sunk, it has been under my management. I understand the indications of the damp. The siae of the air ways is five feet by four feet. Our permanent air ways are carried above the gobs to the highest possible point, more effectually to carry away the fire damp. In some places the air ways may be less than four by five feet, but in those cases the bulk of air is not lessened, because some of the air passes through the loose. They are all large enough for a man to pass through. The air ways are under the charge of two firemen-one by day, and the other by night. Thomas Crook is the fireman by dayâStephen Crook by night. Besides the firemen, there is a furnace man, Richard Babb, whose duty it is to keep up the fire. The fire- men have as many assistants as they require. I have authority from Mr. Russell to do whatever I think proper for the safety of the works, and have never been found fault with for anything 1 have done to ventilate the works. I consider myself respon- sible to the company, and the firemen are responsible to me, for the state of the ventilation. The duties of the firemen are to see each other morning and night, and report to each other 8ee danger. It is the duty of the night fireman, «»» or Â¥s assistants, to examine the air ways, and Tf « a *'r 18 *?inS proper course all through the night, in to JnrU wT they are to prevent the men from going t> w?rks are unsafe, the firemen can pre- f?111 In» 01 can send them out if they have m.^n "ave the power, in my absence, to do S ,h AHV°,Tde/ necessary for the safety of the wo_ks. ? 5" thtre was a fall in the wind way on the river side, when the men were kept out for four days, until it was repaired and reported safe. In September last we increased the draught of the furnace, which also stopped the works tor three days. This improved the ventilation, and cost 11 On Nov. 19, I found the men out of the work, and asked the Crooks he reason. They said there was a large cap (the same as a top, described above) on the lamp on the mountain side but that it would not fire though they did not consider it safe for the men to work, and they accordingly stopped out till next day. I he Crooks went down into the works, and on coming up, reported to me that there was no ob- struction m the works. I do not recollect any other days than those I have named last year, in which the men were prevented from working in the pit by the state of the air. T. Crook was not at work the Monday or Tuesday before the accident. Wm. Crook, his brother, worked in his place on Monday and Tues- day. He was quite capable of doing his brother's duty. Wm Crook took charge of the pit on the Wednesday morning, when his brother Stephen left, and was in the pit at the time of the explosion. I went to the pit soon after the accidentâ and was in the pit when the bodies were found. At the request of the men. I remained at the bottom of the pit, to prevent any oi»« going is with a naked caudle. For th* lut An or sis nonths we have been driving, with a view to improve the venti- ation by communicating our present workings with some old I workings to the rise of them. It has been necessary to carry m this improvement cautiously, because of the water in the )ld workings. We kept boring three yards ahead of us, to prevent any sudden in-bursting of the water. It will take ibout three months to complete this alteration. The witness was cross-examined by Mr. Owenâand subse- quently re-examined by Sir Thomas Phillipl-bat no impor- tant new feature was elicited. William Crook was next sworn and examinedâand his evi- lence (for which we have not room) was merely confirmatory af that of former witnesses. The jury here retired for a few minutea-and on their re- lissembling- Sir T. Phillips stated that they intended calling Thos. Crook and other witnesses, but were much in the hands of the jury ai to the propriety of doing so. If the jury thought the produc- tion of other witnesses could at all further elucidate the cause of the calamityâthey should be called they might decide the question: if they thought the witnesses who had been ex- amined had said all that could be stated at all calculated to throw light upon the unhappy occurrence, perhaps they would think it unnecessary that he should call any others. The jury immediately intimated that, in their opinion, no further material evidence could be adduced, and Sir Thomas Phillips, merely incompliance with the usual torm. in luch cases, proceeded to take the evidence of Mr. Robothan, the surgeon to the works: This gentleman said he had no doubt that James Gambel, into whose death, as explanatory of that of the other sufferers, the jury were more particularly inquiring, had died of suffocation, there being no indication of external injury sufficient to warrant the conclu- sion that he died from any other cause. The coroner made a few remarks to the jury, calling upon them to form a fixed opinion as to whether the death resulted from accident, from neglect, or designâand to come to au unbiassed conclusion on the subject. The jury then re- tired, and after being absent a few minutes,returned the following verdict â "That on the 14th day of January, 1846, the said Jamea Gambel being then and there working in the Black Vein coal pit, situate within the parish of Machen, and county of Mon- mouthâthe inflammable air then and there collected, suddenly, accidentally, and by misfortune, ignited and exploded, by means of which and of the after damp which followed such explosion, the said James Gambel was then and there, accidentally and by mis ortune suffocatedâof which suffocation, he, the said James Gambel instantly died." The same verdict was formally registered in the cases of all the ill-fated sufferers on Thursday morning with the exception of the poor boy killed at the bottom of the shaft, in whose case a general verdict of Accidental Death," was returned. The inquiry then terminated.



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Special General Meeting of…



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To the Editor of the Aloumouthshire…

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Family Notices