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POLICE.—MONDAY, MAY 21.- [13efore…




MONDAY, MAY 21.-[Before II.…







DREADFUL ACCIDENT AT IAN TWIT V ARDRE COLLIERY. -r- SEVEN LIVES LOST. Last week we gave particulars of a fatal accident at the Werfa colliery, by means of which two of our fellow-creatures were brought to an untimely grave. No sooner had the intelligence appeared in our columns, than another fearful and more distressing accident occurred at Lantwit Vardre colliery, near Treforest, be- longing to Thos. Powell, Esq., the extensive colliery proprietor, when five men were killed on the spot, and others dreadfully in- jured. It appears that there are two pits at the colliery, worked by the same machinery, so that the weight descending into one pit en- ables the engineer to raise the weight in the other with compara- tive ease. On Friday night, the chain belonging to one of the pits was broken, which led to the temporary suspension of the works. There was left, therefore, but one pit in working order, and the weight of materials ascending or descending it must have been, consequently, borne by the engine itself. About one o'clock on Saturday morning the fireman made ap- plication to the engineer to let him down the pit, but was refused, the engineer very properly wishing to ascertain by daylight whe- ther or not any injury had been done to the machinery by the ac- cident of the previous night. About four o'clock, having first of all examined the engine and found everything safe, he let three men down the pit, who reached the bottom in safety. About seven o'clock, John Jones, a contractor, or underground steward, came to the engineer, accompanied by three or four other men, and requested to be let down also. The engineer, we were given to understand, remonstrated with him, he being anxious to test the machinery by some dead weight but it was to no purpose. The engineer then set the engine in order, and when the carriage was descending the pit, he perceived that a considerable number of men had entered it. They had not descended more than seven or ten yards before the engineer heard a crack or a jerk in the ma- chinery. He instantly stopped the engine, examined it, and found it out of "gear." The unfortunate though reckless men in the pit, by this time perceiving their dangerous position, cried out, and called on the engineer to raise them. He attempted, and while doing so the engine lost all power over the fly-wheel, and the natural consequence was, that the poor fellows were precipi- tated to the bottom of the pit, nearly one hundred yards deep. The heavy chain which suspended the carriage then fell with great force on them. Every effort was then mude to assist the sufferers, and it was not until one o'clock that all the bodies were taken out. Medical aid was immediately sent for, and every attention was paid to the injured. It is rather remarkable that the only man whose injuries were comparatively light was a stranger, who had gone with the men to see the pit. On Monday morning, an inquest was held on the bodies, before R. L. Reece, Esq., and a respectable jury of tradesmen from 1're- forest. It was heartrending when we reached the village, to witness the mournful countenances and Sunday attire of the people who had assembled to pay their tribute of respect to the deaa- the spectacles of the dead and dying lying in the different cottages -the coffins (made of oak and handsomely trimmed) being car- ried in various directions—and above all, the bitter cries of wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and relatives who had been de- prived of their dearest friends without a moment's warning. We were much affected by observing, in a cottage, the remains of a father and son being removed to their last resting-place, amidst the lamentations of a widow and fatherless children, while at the same place, another son was lying dangerously ill from the effects of the same accident. After viewing the several bodies, and the machinery of the works, the coroner and jury retired to an adjoining inn to hold their inquest. The first witness called was a lad named David Jones, nephew of the contractor (whose life was made a sacrifice to his workmen), who was present. He said I recollect Saturday morning last, when the accident occurred. It was between seven and eight o'clock. My uncle (John Jones, contractor) told me to wait at the mouth of the pit all day, to open and shut the fails (or flaps). Some of the workmen asked my uncle if they should have any work that day, as the chain had broken in the other pit. He said, Come down, perhaps I can find you something to do." He said so to several to Thomas Rees and Morgan Rees. My uncle did not tell the men not to go down. I told Zachariah Williams he had better not go. He said he would go. I did not hear any of the men say there were too many in the carriage. There were about 16 or 18 in it. It was quite full. I saw them go down. After they had gone about ten yards I heard two jerks. The engineer stopped the engine at once, and tried to reverse it, for the purpose of having them back again. The carriage then fell down with great force to the bottom of the pit. Thomas John was the next, witness examined. He said I am one of the engineers at the Lantwit colliery. I have been em- ployed in it for four years. I was engaged at the engine on Satur- day morning last. An accident jhappened on Friday night. The chain of the old pit, which is next to the engine, broke by heaving a tram of coal up. That caused a stoppage of the works. The pit has not been in use since. About seven o'clock on Saturday morn- ing, John Jones came to me, and asked me to put him down the furthest pit. The engine was in gear (in working order), for I had put three men down before. I then went to let him down. I did not know there were more than three or four with him, until I saw their heads as they were entering the pit. I was some dis- tance from the pit. I wondered to see so many going down, be- cause I knew there was nothing for them to do. The pit is 96 yards deep. The chain is 145 yards long, and could bear more than double the weight of the men. The chain is a new one. It has only been in use four months. I am always in the habit of repairing any injury done to the chains before anything more is .Y 11 done with them. After the men had descended the pit about seven or ten yards, I heard a crack or jerk, which much alarmed ire. I immediately stopped the engine, and went out to see what was the matter. I found that the cogs had started out of their place, and could not work. The first thing I did was to put the cogs right. Just at the time the men called out to me to pull them up. I be- gan to do so; gave a stroke and a half, when the engine went out of gear again, after which I had no control over it. I could not tell why the engine went out of gear; but I found after that the bolts which fastened the wheels had started. I don't know the cause of it, except the sudden jerk or crash. There is a connexion between the two pits—one balances the other. After the other chain had broken the engine had to bear all the weight of the carriage and men. I recollect the pit in work before the new pit was made, when the lower weight, as now, was let down. When the engine had the balance of the other pit, it could let down double the quan- tity. I believe the accident would not have occurred had not the chain of the other pit broken the night before. I had cautioned the men not to go down but as John Jones insisted upon it, I let them go. I cautioned them because I was afraid the loss of the use of the other chain would be attended with danger. I wanted to test the machinery with some dead weight first. I cannot tell exactly the cause of the accident. Thomas Williams examined: I am surveyor and mineral agent to the colliery. I know something of engineering. I can- not account for the engine getting out of gear. It might have been because of the bolts having started. I think it is highly probable that it occurred by the contact of the carriage with the side of the pit, and thus causing the jerk spoken ot. The engine had worked the pit for six years before the new pit was opened. If the chain had not broken the night before, there would have been a greater tendency to keep the engine in gear. William Habbakuk examined: I am agent and mineral sur- veyor to the colliery. I attribute the accident to the starting of the bolts, which was probably occasioned by a sudden jerk, pro- duced by the uneven manner in which the carriage went down. An undue pressure on one side would produce such a jerk. Such things sometimes occur. A horse was killed some time ago by its restlessness in going down. It is not improbable that these men might have unduly pressed on one side, and thereby occasioned the jerk. George James Penn examined I am manager of Messrs. Brown and Lennox's works. The chain is quite new. I recollect Mr. Powell giving strict. instructions to have it first of all properly proved. It is made in four parts. It was proved first singly, and then conjointly. Each part would sustain a weight of three tuns, or the whole, twelve tons. The coroner then summed up. After referring to the evidence, he said that as the two pits had been for some years worked toge- ther, and as the chain of one of them had broken the night before, the engine migh; probably have sustained an injury, but it was quite clear there was no blame attached to either the proprietors, the engineer, or any one connected with the colliery. The engineer had .cautioned the men before they went down, and as Jones was ft responsible man, the engineer was justified in letting him down. if; there was blame attached to any one, it must have been to Jones, who ought to have known better, and had by bis indiscre- tion brought himself and others to a premature death. He could not see it to be any other than accidental. The jury almost immediately returned a verdict of "Accidental Death. The names of the deceased are as follows John Williams, aged tweuty-one, single Samuel Rogers, aged twenty-one, single John Williams, aged sixteen, single; Thomas Rees, aged íiity, mar- ried Joseph Rees, aged ten John Jones, aged ti William J-nkins, aged for y-six. The names of the other sufferers are as follows:—David Hop- kins, Jeukin Jenkins, John Jones, William Jenkins, Zachariah Williams, David Williams, John Griffiths, Morgan Rees, William Williams, Thomas Richards. We find that Mr. Powell has taken a deep interest in the rjw- lancholy affair, and has done all in his power to ascertain the cause of the accident. He had sent Mr. Griffiths, from New- port, Mr. Francis, from Cardiff, and two surveyors, to render all the assistance in their power to the sufferers and widows, and also with a view, if possible, of preventing a similar catastrophe. Not satisfied with this, he has promised the widows that permanent support of which they were so suddenly and lamentably de- prived, pecuniarily. Owing to Mr. Powell's humanity, they will sutler no loss. It has been some slight alleviation that most of the sufferers were unmarried men. It is to be hoped that the lesson taught by this accident and similar ones will not, to the workmen, be given in vain.