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i DREADFUL COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

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i DREADFUL COLLIERY EXPLOSION. TWENTY-EIGHT LIVES LOST. Of the forenoon of Saturday last, a most dreadful—a J°st appalling catastrophe took place in the Duffiyn olliery, near t)ie village of Aberdare, in this county, by *nn:h ei^ht and twenty souls were, without a moment's Earning, hurried from time into eternity. Information ectliig the deplorable event leached Cardiff on Sun- *)'> upon which our Reporter instantly hastened to the 8Pot. and remained there three days, making inquiries I collecting information, the result of which we now 'o pla ce before our readers. seems that the colliery in question is worked by ^omas Powell, Esq.—one of the most extensive & spirited Takers of coal in the kingdom—and that e.arly onSatur- morn in IT the men, amounting in number to about 0l'e huudred and sixty, descended the pit and entered the w°»kings as usual, the firemen who were appointed to ei,ter and report upon the state of ventilation in the V!u>ou$ways, headings, and stalls having previously de- clared the whole, or nearly the whole, to be free from noxious vapours. The workmen having entered the continued at work up to about eleven o'clock in the or^Hoo;i, when suddenly an explosion took place, which, 'is tremendous violence, seemed to shake the earth to 'i. Us cenfre. Instantly the inhabitants of the neighbourhood seen running" to the spot—men, women, and chil- ren. and who, being well acquainted with all matters appertaining to the working of mines, were aware, from ,le sound and the vibration of the earth, that an explo- 8i°n of the most dreadful nature had taken place They j*'so knew that their relatives were in the mine, and pro- exposed to all the fury of the resistless blast; and, le>'efore, as soon as they had a moment's leisure to col- their scattered thoughts, the magnitude of the danger 8eeft»ed to present itself with double force to their minds, and cries of the most pieiciiiLr anguish were uttered by al1 assembled. ^rom llie pit loud murmurs of men's voices arose, "earing niosl welcome evidence that some had escaped. "It then arose the questions—Who had escaped How ltlany were lost 1— and as each wildly and despairingly Calculated the possibility that a husband, father, or frtend, had perished, the dismal wail of misery again IIrose, and all seemed to abandon themselves to despair. however bv this time, several men had been drawn to the top, and" were almost devoured by the eager embraces If their relatives, who received them as men who had rtsen from the grave. It was really a most affecting sight |° Witness the manner in which wives welcomed their ''usbands. We pointed it out to a gentleman who hap- pened to be standing near, who thereupon observed,— "Yes, poor things, they have reason to be thankful: fliers as a class, whatever their other vices may be, geneiaiiy prove good husbands." Another, and another, ar-d another lot of men and boys were quickly drawn up, eleh arrival being watched with intense anxiety by those !vho,,e friends had not made their appearance. At length 11 Was announced that with the exception of one or two who remained at the bottom of the shaft, all the men who 'Vete alive had been brought up. It was then found that twenty-eight were missing, who, it was instantly and too truly surmised, had perished. The neighbourhood of the "'Ol"ks was by this time crowded by many hundreds, some of whom prepared to descend the pit in order to commence Search for the bodies of the poor fellow*, who remained 1n the workings. Notwithstanding the almost suffocating State of the mine, many brave fellows went down and '"rtlnvith commenced their humane tatk, succeeding on !he same day, in spite of innumerable obstacles and perils, in sending upthirteeu bodies. Some were alite when dis- c°vered, but they died soon after being conveyed to the 'urface. The engine was kept constantly pumping, and !he water was thrown back into the mine so as to assist 1n forming a current of air. During Sunday bodies ^ere found at intervals, and on Monday at about two o'clock, the last was discovered, and speedily con- veyed to the surface. Several were burnt most frightfully. We subjoin a list of the sufferers as taken from the Plates of the coffins, which were considerately provided at "r. Powell's expense :— S"* « Sf brokers, f Howell Williams | ( ■io Howell John David 20 Joseph Phillips 19 Evan Lewis 19 David Jones. 32 Thomas Smith 19 David Morgan 20 David Jenkins. 37 James James 23 George Thomas 33 James Thomas. 44,married man and has left a widow and two children. David Thomas (his son), aged JO, who was lite- rally reduced to a cinder. Richard Morris aged 30, single Thomas Evans 35,married man ,t,; E%til, and has lelt a widow and two children. He was remarkable for his great personal strength. "is body was found at some distance from the spot where 1t is supposed the explosion occurred. He had his hands to his face, as if he had been endeavouring to protect his Nostrils from the effects of the destructive gas. William Evans aged 31, single William Williams iiiatt and has left a widow and two children. ievat, rhoinai Evan Thomas aged 14. single John Jones. 1 i ThomasRees 23 John Edwards 35,married man and has left a widow and two children. William Edwards (his son) aged 9 years John Jones 17, single William Llewellyn 18 John Evaiis 22 David Evans 9 'Thomas Davies 78 widower, commonly called 'Ihomas 'ly'nycoed. David Jo;.es, aged 27, has left awidow&onechild, Nicholas Evans, a youth aged 12 years, although ,Ireadfully injiireL],' liaviii, sustained, by the force of the concussion, a fracture of the lower jaw-bone, of the arm, hUt! of the leg, was alive on Tuesday. The force of the shock may be partly conceived from this circumstance :— this boy was nearly 170 yaids from the spot of explosion, but was hurled hy it with such violence against the sides :1[1<.1 roof of the pit as to receive the injuries just de- scribed. It is one sad consolation to know that the pooi ^eUows' sufferings were not protracted, as it is imagined that death was mercifully prompt. Not more than six or seven, we were informed, died from the elf-cts of burn. 5rig; a great majority of the sufferers having been suffo- «ai £ d by inhaling carbonic acid gas, or what the coiliers term "choke-damp" or "after-damp." In the state of confusion that naturally prevailed in the Neighbourhood, it was scarcely possible to obtain correct information relative to the state of the mine—the means adopted for ventilation—the cause of the explosion, &c. arious rumours were current, many being most contra- dictory and absurd; and therefore, without noticing ftem, we refer our readers to the statements made upon oath before the coroner and jury, On Monday and Tuesday the funerals of the deceased took place, and were most numerously attended. We observed bands of Odd Fellows with scatfs, hat bands, and waite gloves, and other OUDRFIS, in procession preceding the funerals. All sepmed impressed with the dreadful mag- nitude of the calamity, and as the funerals moved slowly along, not a sound was heard save the sad sighings of the ^vomen, who occasionally wcre completely overcome by the a»iense violence of their emotions. Those were moments cf indescribable mental anguish—of withering regret. ^ever„ we believe, in this county, has such a scene been ^vi'Tiessed one so calculated to impress upon the mind a Easting recotlection of its fearful reality. THE CORONER'S INQUEST. CJ-R Monday the inquest was held at the Boot Inn, Aberdare, before William Davies, Esq., Coroner, and Ille follow in-»r who nun nosed the iurv :— -I Of Air. Matthew Wayne, Oadlys (Foreman) Thomas, Court, Merthyr H Thomas Wayne, Gtyndare Phillip Taylor, Hirwain .14 Henry Kirkhouse, C'yfarthfa ItJ John Nix.m, Wyifa Colliery ø.s David Llewellyn, Hirwain David Davies, Hirwain Ilees Rhys, Lhvyricoed David Williams, Yniseynon J. P. ttvaus, Aberdai-e David Jones, Aberdare ■" Thomas Edwards, Aberdare •" William Miles, Aberdare Thomas Jo!):'S, Aberdare •" Robert Biddle, Aberdare 1<6' John Smith, Abemant. Our readers of this county will perceive that several of the gentlem en who formed the jury are parties of the greatest respectability, Mr. Thomas being a county magistrate, wiii'e all are practical men, well conversant "witij underground operations. A few seemed to be gen- tlemen of great scientific attain -jimts and experience, so 'Si it the most anxious care had apparently been taken by the coroner to secure a jury of person- who were not only hy their position in society above the influences of prejudice, but who were also capable of directing their attention to the points bearing more immediately upon the object of the enquiry. After spending the afternoon zi)tl evening in proceeding ■to different places to view file bodies, the inquest was ■■adjourned to Tuesday. THE EVIDENCE* Llewellyn Elias sworn: I knew the deceased Howell ;Diivid. I last saw him alive on the morning of Saturday liast, the 2nd of August, at nine n'ctock. He was in the 'colliery. Thomas Powell. Esq., of the Gaer, Newport, Monmouthshire, is the proprietor of the colliery. I am ihis agent, clerk, and cashier, and have at this col- fiery for the last, two years. About 21 mouths ago., these VViOik.s were stopped for a few days, in consequence of a ttii:g.ht explosion having taken place owing to the gas in tfase "jv.Qr.ks^ When Howell David was brought up he was n«<t tju'rtfi dead, but he died very shortly afterwards. About elesiiii o'clock, I suppose, the explosion took place. I was then in the works, at about 4011 yards from the spot where w", expect the explosion occurred. It happened in Tom of Folk's heading—that being the name by which the person who first drove the heading was known. I Was in Evan of Llaacarvan's heading, or the deep heading. -At the time of the .accident there were in Tom of Park's •heading 24 colliers, 2 labourers, a haulier, and a door .1:0: ::Ii of whom were killed. There were 18 stalls in that • heading; and there wa« a small heading leading from it. .From the bottom of the pit to the face of this heading the • distance is about GOO yards in a direct line. Part of the -Coding is in Abernant-y-gios-issa,aiid part in Tyrllwyd, ibe air is conveyed from the bottom of tbe flue t9 the face of the heading by on air-way. It is taken to. the extreme point of the heading and is returned by the main heading to the level, and from thence to the up- cast pit. The air crosses the main heading by means of doors. When we have taken all the coal out of any place that place is walled up. [The map of the works produced.] Mr. Llewellyn, of Hirwain, observed that by the map it appeared the various headings had not been driven parallel to each other. They ought to have been so driven. Examination of Elias continued: After I heaid the explosion, I and Enoch Williams, who were together, consulted with each other. We could not think where it had occurred. We thought it had exploded in the head- ing we were in, but soon found that it must have occurred somewhere else. We went on about a hundred yards, looking and listening, and suddenly we heard a great cry of men and children. They were all running out of the works towards the bottom of the pit. We ran on, and met several of them. They could not tell me where the explosion happened. As I was making the best of my way out I saw that a horse had been killed. The depth of the deepest part of the pit is 97 yards. By Mr. David Llewellyn (a juror) I do not believe that if the air-pit was to the rise of the heading it would have been perfectly safe. It might have been, perhaps. By Mr. William Miles: There are old stalls worked below the stalls where the people were burnt. They are all walled up with bricks and mortar. We do not know whether those stalls are full of sulphur or not. When we have done working them we wall them up, for fear some old sulphur may get from them to the places where the men work. If we see any appearance of gas in the workings, we always try and get fresh air to it to drive it away. I cannot say whether our air-way is sufficiently large to clear the old sulphur away. There is always a strong current of air through the mine. Ry Mr. Nixon From the level to the first stall at pre- sent being worked, there is a distance of 150 yards, in the whole of which distance the old stalls have been worked, abandoued, and well bayed [walled] up. The stalls are of different lengths. The stalls down to the west are of unequal lengths, in. consequence of a fault, that is not running parallel with the direction of the heading. By Mr. Llewellyn All the stalls are of unequal lengths because the cross headings are not driven parallel to each other. There is a bay [wall] on each side of the main heading. By Mr. Nixon The gas is allowed to ooze out from the old workings into the air course on the inside of the bay. When the gas oozes out it goes to the main road. On Saturday last, we found the mine in as good a state as re- gards ventilation as ever it was. It was quite fresh. I considered myself quite safe on that day in any part of the works. I did not try the air in the last return* but I considered it as good as usual. I used the Davy Lamp without the wire protection there. I used the naked candle in the main tram-road leading to the up-cast or winding pit. The air there was perfectly fresh. This was about three hours before thcaecident. That was in our main or principdtram-roadthroughwhich the whole of the coal is brought to the surface, it is also our main return or air-course, through which the whole of the air after having passed through the whole of the workings is conveyedaway. I never saw a lamp fire ju the main return in the general working of the colliery. Cases of explosion are caused by foul air getting to the new workings. There are two pumps in the down-cast or engine pit. The sizes of the pumps are fourteen inehesand nine inches in diameter l'espeetivelv. This engine pit is the sole opening through which our air is taken from the surface to the mine. Besides the two pumps there aie two sets of pit or pump rods for the working of the plungers belonging to the said pumps, all of which remain now in the pit. They are about taking the 9 inches pump with the rods belong- ing thereto out of the said pit. Tiia 14 inches pump is to remain, having been put there to replace the smaller one which we intended removing. The up-cast pit is from 5 to 6 feet square. All these pumps, chains, and rods, may confine the air a little that i3, they may ob- struct the passage of the air to the colliery, but we found no difference. By Mr. Rees Rhys I have not b?en in the hea liti? in which the explosion took place for the last week, other persons having charge ot tt. I do not know whether the old stalls lying to the west of the heading where the ex- plosion took place were filled with gas or not. In the whole of the workings of the colliery, with the exception of two or three stalls, there is no part from which the whole of the coal has been excavated. The examination of this witness occupied a considera- ble time. He seemed to understand very little of the matter—the cause of the accident, or the nature of the workings. In the course of the morning we were told that he was not a mineral agent, but simply clerk and cashier, although he frequently entered the mine with the mineral agents. Thomas Williams examined: He commenced by tra- cing on the map the diffeient air-wavs, and more parti- cularly that leading from the air-pit to Tom of Park's beading, in which the explosion took place. In speakin r of tha heading "Tom of Park's heading" is generally refened to. He then said-Most of the bays in the head. ing were blown down by the violence of the explosion. They were blown from the east to the west. There was an old man found from 10 to 12 yards from the face [or extreme point] of the heading. He was not very severely burnt. All the men found seemed to have ran after the explosion. One of them (David Jones) had ran, I should think, 70 ynrds. He was dreadfully burnt. We only found John Edwards and his son in the place where they were working. Mr. Thonns (of Court, Merthyr) said it was a very common thing for persons who were dreadfully burnt to run for some distance and then fall and die. Many instances are known where men even ran home, and then died instantly. Examination continued Howell David was discovered on the roa 1 or way. He was not burnt much, if at all, but was killed by the concussion of the air—driven with terrific violence against the sides of the pit. He was not much more than 100 yards from the mouth of the pit. The force of the explosion was such that it blew him out of the trams.f He was brought up alive. Mr. Thunas: 1 think they were nearly all suffocated except four or Sve, who were undoubtedly burnt to death. They were burnt so badly that even supposing it possible for them to have lived for four or five hours afterwards, the mortification which inevitably would have taken place mnst have caused death. The principal part of the poor fellows were sutfocatcll by what is called the foul damp- carbonicacidgas. Some colliers know it by the name of "choke damp." I have, iu my life time, seen many hundreds who had been burnt, but never did I see any burnt so badly as those we yesterday saw. Examination of T. Williams continued All the bodies havcbeenfound. Some were found near a stall which leads from Tom of Park's heading to a little heading to the eastward of it, and they were the ones most severely- burntofany. Mr. Nixon inquired whether any one present had noticed the barometer on Saturday forenoon. He had been told that an explosion had taken place in other mines on that day. If explosions did on that day occur in more places than one, or were general, the accident was probably caused by some change in the temperature of the air, which change would be indicated by the barometer. The Coroner said, that at Brecon on Friday, the bar- ometer fdl very suddenly. Examination of T. Williams continued To the best of my belief the cause of the explosion is to be attributed to either a sudden fall of the barometer, or to a fall ofa portion of the roof in the old workings, thereby forcing out gas into the air-way, which gas so forced ont exploded at some of the workmen's naked lights, or candles, ill Torn of Park's beading. No other part of the colliery, with the excep- tion of this Tom of Park's heading, and the small head- ing before mentioned as leading out of it to the eastward show the least sign of any explosion having taken place! It seemed to have been, & was,confined to that one heading. There were men working in another part of the colliery for two hours after the explosion had occurred, and actually they were not aware that anything unusual had happened. The explosion was a very partial one, cer- tainly not extending to the one-fortieth part of the whole colliery. Theareaofthepartoithecollieryinwhich the explosion took place, and to which it was confined is not more than 30 square chain?. By Mr. Rees Rhys fhe men had been working in that heading all the morning, and several quantities" of coal went tip from it. In some parts of the colliery the men work day and night. The size of the down-cast pit is 9 feet by 7 feet; and the size of the up-cast pit is 14 feet by 9 feet,—clear within the walls. The depth is 93i yards. The furnace was 5 feet by 4 feet. The height from the bar to the arch was 5 feet. The air is allowed to escape by the sides of the arch surrounding the furnace, its pas- sage not being confined to the space occupied by the fur- nace, The distance from the furnace to the up-cast pit is from 10 to II yards. I consider this furnaceamply sufficient f" the rarefaction of the air, being about 20 square feet. By Mr. Nixon: The furnace was attended day and night by a proper person, I have known the gas to kindle at the furnace in passing over it; but that has not hap- pened for the last six or eight months, I superintended the opening of this pit about five years aand have been there ever since. By Mr. Llewellyn I consider Mr. "Wayne's pit to be better adapted for ventilating our pit 'ban the means now adopted. IUs higher than ollr pit. Mr. Llewellyn, pointing to a spot on the map to the rise of Tom of Park's heading, said to witness—" Do you not think there ought to have been a pit sunk here long ago for the urposes of ventilation 1" T. Williams: Pits at a little distance from the spot where you point have been commenced long ago, and would- have been completed had not the giound proved so very troublesome—being sandy and full of water, The men have been kept working at them incessantly. They were commenced 18 or 20 months ago. They were not com- menced two or three years ago, because we did not con- sider there was any necessity for them. To the tiest of my belief I could not put the workings of the colliery in a better or safer situation than they were on the morning of Saturday last—that is, of course on the present system of working it or ventilating it. I have not been in the heading that exploded for a fortnight. • The last return" means we believe the air which returns to the surface after having travelled all through the colliery, and which carries with it the impurities—gas which it meets with Ïll its course. + lie was a haulier, having the charge of one horse and two trams, and at the time of the accident was proceeding in the direction of Tom of Park's level when the resistless current met him—blew the horse over the trams -tumbled the trams over each other—and threw him with frightful violence against the roof or side of the way. By Miv Nixon: I am not aware that we could have adopted any other system of ventilation with the present pits. I am not practically acquainted with the system of taking the gas from the old workings pursued in the North of England-namely, of taking it from the old abandoned workings into a gas-drift, and leaving it to rise to the surface, without ever permitting it to come in contact with flame or fire of any kind. Mr. Kirkhouse to Mr. Nixon: But that system does not answer. There are more accidents by one-half in the north than there are here. I saw an account the other day of 120 persons having been burnt to death. Mr. Nixon: But bear in mind, the quantity of gas given out by the coal there is so great that they are obliged to adopt that system of working. There are about 40,000 colliers in the North of England how many are there in South Wales 1 Mr. Kirkhouse There are more in Wales. A conversation between these gentlemen continued for a short time longer,after which the examination of the witness (T.W.) was continued as follows :—I do not consider that we have any need of the gas-drift system of ventilation in the colliery in which the explosion took place. All the miners use [or work by] the naked flame, but every place is tried on each morning with safety lamps by two regular firemen previous to the workmen entering their stalls. The fireman who examined the mine on Saturday last was killed. The colliery has been so injured by that explosion that it will cost from £ 150 to jE200 to put it in a working condition. I do not include in that estimated loss the demurrage Mr. Powell will be obliged to pay for want of coal to load the vessels, or his profit on the coal if it had been worked. David Edwards examined I am a collier, and work at Cyfarthfa. J. Edwards, one of the men that was killed was my second cousin. As soon as I heard of the accident, on Saturday, I went down to the pit to endeavour to extri- cate his remains. He was not found till yesterday. Whilst I was in the colliery, on Saturday, I looked on the headings and stalls—the heading of Tom of Park and all. I examined that heading up to the little heading. I examined the air-ways. I have worked all my life under the earth, and I can say that I never saw better air-ways in my life in any colliery than there were ill this colliery. We have as good at Cyfarthfa. 1 am forty years of age, and have been a collier at Cyfarthfa since I was six years old. On Sunday evening I tried the air with a lamp in company with Thomas Beddow. We found the air coming there from the coal very inflamma- ble. I never saw any place so bad-it was impossible to be worse. That was in consequence of the air being confined by the accident in the courses. I should have no objection to work in that colliery. I would as soon work there as where 1 am now working. I think they should be careful in working it, especially if strangers work it, as the air is not good it requires extreme caution to work it. It is far more inflammable than at. Cyfarthfa. There is much more danger in putting a candle to rest on a bay than in the coal. I believe the air must have been good on Saturday morning in the level, before the men could work in it till 10 or 11 o'clock. The explosion drove the bays from east to west, that being the direction of the explosion, as proved by the bays being driven in that direction. Thomas Howell examined: I am fire man in the Duffryn Collierj. I am appointed to see if gas or foul air is in the stalls or works in the morning. On Saturday morning last, I looked at Tom of Park's heading at about 20 minutes to five in the moruing. I inspected the smaller heading which leads from it. I was the first person who went into that heading that morning, although there was another person named James Thomas before me at the mouth of the pit. lie followed me into the heading. He is since dead. I went up to the face of the heading and I found the air ve.y good. I went to each stall and also the little heading. The air in all was good. The stalls were quite clear in all the headings. I saw no difference in any part of the coilierv. I was in the works when the explosion took place—in the lowest depth. The wind blew my candle out. I knew by that an explosion had taken place and made the best of my way out. The place was full of sulphur. I kindled my candle immediately and it kept kindled, Mr. Nixon The choke damp could not have been very strong, because a man will live where a candle will live easy enough. The explosion must have been a very partial one. Examination of T. H. continued: It was a Davy Lamp I had, but th? gauvie w. a not on it. 1 have been working for five or six years under ground. I made a mark on the stalls where I considered there was danger. No man went into the stalls where I had marked. The mark was this :—I put a mandril in the entrance to the stall. None of the stalls in Tom of Park's heading required a mark, nor in the little heading. The man who worked in the little heading was with me when I examined it in the morning. He stayed at the entrance when I went in. Is it all clear 1" said he when I returned to him. "Y ps, clear enough" said I; and then in he went as usual. He was waiting for me at the point of separation between the two headings. I had examined Tom of Park's head- ing and found it quite clear. After I found everything safe I gave a light to this James Thomas and left him. I was through all the stalls in the colliery on Wednesday last. I cannot form an opinion as to the cause of the explosion. I saw nothing more than usual there in the morning. William Miles (a juror): For what purpose was such a quantity of gas kept in the works ? I consider it was just like keeping a powder magazine there.* T. IIoweit: There is no place but which has air passing through it. I did not travel the old workings. I only saw that the places where the men worked were clear. The bays were built to keep the foul air from the works. The bays were made sometimes without mortar. A conversation ensued amongst the jurors respecting the method adopted for excluding the foul air from the works. William Miles put several questions to the wit- ness, which induced the coroner to say to him—" You appear to fancy that by building these bays, it is the proprietor of the colliery's wish to retain or keep this foul air in his colliery for some purpose. He does not wish to keep it at all; but as he cannot get rid of it, he endeavours to keep it from entering the new works. Mr. Thomas: Yes: they cork it up as it were. Mr. Nixon: By the present system of working here they cannot get rid of it. William Miles: Accidents cannot be prevented unless the foul air be kept out of the works. The Coroner- The inquiry is, whether, according to the present system of working, there has been neglect in conducting that work. Mr, Nixon: According to the present system of ven- tilation, one of the witnesses said, the colliery could not be put in a better system of ventilation. The Coroner, directing his attention to the spectators present: Is there anybody here who can give any infor- mation respecting this matter. William Miles then put one or two questions to Thomas Howell, who said he was not capable of answetinw them. The questions had reference to the system of ventilation, Enoch Williams examined I am under-ground atren?" to Mr. Powell for this colliery, &have the care of Tom of Park's heading. I was down in the works between 7 and 8 on Saturday morning, but I was not in that heading on that day. I was iu it all Friday morning. On Saturday morning I went down to the pit about 10 o'clock. I went into the drift that is across the measures, and then went into the deep heading where I was when the explosion took place. I was in the third stall from the face of the heading. The wind blew my light out. [Witness then traced on the map the various ait courses, and pointed out how Tom of Park's heading was ventilated.] When the explosion took place I saw nothing extraordinary in the air, with the exception that it became a little thick. The flame became redder—carried more head on its top —thereby showing that the mine was becoming explosive or near the firing poiut. I did not consider the mine was then dangerous: The appearance of the flame did not create any alarm. Wheu I heard the explosion I ran to the heading, and the collier who was in the next stall ran too, so that we ran against each other. "Are you burnt 1" said I to him. "No," said he, it did not fire on me." It has fired somewhere. said 1. Very likelv," said he, and bad enough too." I had a light with him but no air drove to it. The man's name is Joshua Evans. I told Llewellyn Elias and the man to make the best of their way out. We went on as fast as we could and found the colliers running in great alarm from every direction. I waited —saw many pass me by—spoke to them, but received no distinct reply. I ran on then when I saw no more coming, and passed two bodies. I stopped and thought they were both dead, but it turned out afterwards that one was alive, although he died soon after he was carried out. I stopped there all the while. I did not come out till Sunday evening. I was within three stalls of the face of the deep heading when the accident occurred—that is, nearly 400 yards from the spot, I told the last of the colliers who were running out to stop and help me to catch in the bodies, and to carry them out. They did it. I did not touch them as there were plenty there to carry them without me. I stood with them. When I went to the bOPom of the pit, I learned distinctly from the col- liers that a fire had taken place in Tom of Park's heading. I thought it must have been in that heading, because I could get an account of men having come from the other headings, but I could not find that any had come from that heading. There were from 15U to 170 persons in the pit when the accident happened. I think that a fall in the old workings was the cause vr the explosion. There were no stages in the down-cast pit. The down-ca^t pit is to the fall. It might be more efficient if the old [or smaller] pump were taken out of it. There is plenty of air going down. We find no difference in the air since the two pumps are in the pit. There is as much air as before. I am of opin- ion that, to the best of m) belief, the works cannot be put in a safer state than they were previous to the explo- sion—not till we have a new pit down. If a pit had been to the rise of Tom of Park's level, that level would have, been much safer. I do not believe there is any occasion to have a difference in the workings. ( was the last man in the colliery. I saw them run—waited—then when I saw no more coming, I ran till my attention was called to two bodies, when I stopped instantly to see if they were alive or not. I told several to make the best of their way out. Thomas Seymour was examined at the request of a juror. He said—I came here to state to you, as far as I can, the nature of the colliery, and the cause of the acci- dent, as far as I have seen of it. I saw the colliery last from three to four months ago. I am a mineral surveyor. The Coroner: Can you give us any evidence touching the death of this person t ° Thomas Seymour: It is about three months ago since I was in the pit. I have stated to Mr. Hiscock and many It appeared to us that this and another juror had been instructed by a man named Seymour, who was formerly in Mr. t owell s employ, to put this and other questions. Seymour, we have every reason to believe, has lately been active in spreading reports respecting the state of the collierj". others something about this colliery. I knew very well it would come to this. I wrote a letter to Mr. Powell myself on the subject. I have not a copy of the letter. I live at Newbridge. I am not particularly engaged at present. I have been surveying for different gentlemen lately but not for any particular piace. I was not em- ployed by Mr. Powell when I wrote to him. I was informed that the gas was exploding in that pit, and I wrote to him to state that seeing there was such a great demand for his coal it was a pity to see the pit going to ruin. The next morning Mr. Powell went to Enoch Williams and said—" I understand my pit is in a very bad state: if you cannot alter it, ( must have a man who can." That came to me from one of Mr. Powell's agents. A Juror: From which of them They are now all in the room. The Coroner I do not wish to stifle any inquiry—far from it. Statements of this kind are very irregular. They may be true, or they mny not be true. Thomas Seymour; I laid a wager with Knoch Williams at the Plough and Harrow public-house, Aberdare, respecting this colliery. He bet me five shilliugs to one, and I accepted it. He then bet me another five shillings to another one, which bet I also accepted. The bet was as regards the ventilation of the pit. After Mr. Powell I reeeh-ed my letter, the stream of air in the pit was divided jfgto two ways. After it was divided, I considered that ■Nras not properly done. Enoch Williams considered it rWas. I went down to decide the wager. He did not. I went to the bottom of the pit —saw it and I said there and then—" it is exactly as I thr».i«-ht." I then left the pit and went away. I told Mr. Powell that his air was travelling completely the wrong way. I am capable of proving to the satisfaction of the jury at any time, that the air was travelling the wrong way. A.Juror: Did you not tell me that they had adopted your plan in altering the colliery, but had not required your services 1 I did. Did not something further than words take place between you and Enoch Williams at the Plough and Harrow'J [No distinct answer.] The Coroner thought nothing satisfactory or beneficial coull arise from the examination of this witness. Mr. Matthew John-Mr. Powell's agent—put a few questions to Seymour by the coroner's permission, for the purpose of showing that he (Seymour) was on bad terms with Mr. Powell and his agents. The coroner shortly interposed, and said he thoughtthe questions were irregular. Mr. John sald-" I am able to prove that this man has come here for a certain purpose." The coroner thought Mr, John's observation out of order. The juror was proceeding to put questions to Seymour relative to certain statements made by him, and also re- lative to an assertion which he had made in public namely—" that he had foretold three months ago that an explosion would take place"—when the Coroner again interposed and said—"This man's evidence seems to me to have no immediate reference to th j question we have to decide. Whether he is correct or incorrect ill his statements I do not pretend to say. If he did say three months ago that such an accident would happen he pro- phesied correctly, but it is evident that he must have foreseen what others did not." Mr. Nixon said the explosion was so very partial in its effect, having been confined to one heading, that it was perfectly absurd for Seymour or any one else to pretend now to say that they had foreseen it. Mr. Heppel was then examined 1 am agent for Mr. Powell's Lantwit Colliery. Occasionally he has em- ployed me to report on the state of this colliery. On one or two occasions I have inspected this colliery. Three months ago I made a report respecting this colliery, but it had not reference to the means adopted for ventilation. The lower part of Tom of Pal k's heading is completely deranged or blown to pieces. A sudden fall of the baro- meter would have driven the gas out of the old workings. The gas would steal'on the candles before the men would be aware of it, & so cause the explosion. I saw the gauges or bays knocked to atoms. The aiches have fallen in. The force of a discharge of heavy cannon could not have shattered the place more than the explosion did on Satur- day. It must have been terrific. I do not mean to say that any blame is to be attached to either of the agents. Under the present system the colliery cannot be better ventilated than it is. 1 have no hesitation in saying that if I had the complete management of the place I would adopt a different system but, as I said before, under the present arrangement, I could not put it in a better posi- tion than it appears to have been. By a juror: It is certainly much better not to have the return air through the main heading. I think an im- provement may be made. There can be a better system adopted but such a system as I mean has not been in- troduced into Wales. I do not believe any one here knows anything about the system I refer to. I was the inventor of the gas drift system. The pillars in this colliery cannot be warked with safety without a gas drift. I took the current of this colliery, and it was capital. It was as well ventilated as any colliery in this neighbour- hood. By \1r. Nixon: The greater the extent of workings the greater must be the current of air to clear them. This explosion, I regret to state, is only a commencement in the valley of Aberdare. If I had to begin a colliery here I would have a gas drift certainly. The gas drift system is the best to be pursued. This gentleman's evidence was received with the great- est interest, inasmuch as it had been stated by some one that he had been a pupil of some eminent northern collier or engineer. The Coroner asked whether any of the colliers wished to make any statement or complaint. If any one did, he had now an opportunity offered to him. David Jenkins, collier, examined I was working in the Duffryn Colliery on Saturday last, at the time°the accident happened. I went in about six in the morning, and worked till it was near two o'clock. I then went out of the work as usual, and when I got to the bottom of the pit, I heard, for the first time, that an explosion had taken place. I heard nothing of it myself. [He worked 660 yards from the spot; but it was not the distance which caused the report to pass unnoticed, it was this :— The air passes in a strong current from the heading in which he was at work to the heading where the explosion took place, and the effects of it were carried onwards by the current of 8Ir.]. I saw nothing whatever out of the usual way all the time I was working. I would just as soon work in this mine as in any other before the accident occurred. P. S. Saddler, addressing the coroner, said I have asked the colliers, Sir, in English and in Welsh, if they have any complaints to make, and they say they have no complaint to make. Jacob Thomas examined I put in the large set of pumps into the Dyffryn Colliery, Witness then described the pumping apparatus; and said the smaller pumps were to be taken out. There is no platform or impedi- ment in the pit to the passage of the air with the excep- tion of the space occupied by the edge pieces of the large lift of pumps. The Coroner then commenced his address to the jury, stating briefly the nature of the enquiry upon which they had entered, congratulating them upon the marked attention and patience they had exhibited during the pro- tracted examination. He then verv ably gave a summary of the leading points of the evidence, and left the question entirely in the^hands of the jury, who retired for delibera- tion at eight o'clock. At five minutes past nine they re- entered the room, and presented the following as their verdict: That it is the opinion of this jury that the deceased Howell David has come to his death from accidental cir- cumstances: that the present system of ventilation em- ployed in the Dufrryn Colliery, though as perfect as the said system will admit, is inadequate to ensure the safety of the lives of the men employed in the said works; and they strongly recommend that a system which will prevent the gas oozing out of the old or abandoned workings into the tram road or way be adopted in preference as soon as possible." A similar verdict was taken in all the other cases, after which the court was dismissed. During the investigation the inquest room was crowded with colliers, who paid the deepest attention to the pro- ceedings.

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