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IAccidental Death. : I


Accidental Death. KILLED B\ A COAL CUTTER AT ABERDARE. I' FIRST ACCIDENT OF THE KIND. An inquest was held at the Aberdare Police Station, last ihursdav, touching the death of Georgo Lewis, a collier, employed at the Llwvnhelyg Colliery, Aberdare. who was killed by being drawn into the bar of the coal cutter, and practically disembowelled. The inquest was conducted by Mr. R. J. Rhys, coroner. Mr. Trump, H.M. Inspector of Mines, watched the case on behalf of the Home Office, and lr. W. Thomas (instructed by Mr. C B. Stanton) on behalf of the family and Federation. As this was the first fatality in this district arising from the use o: a coal cutter, much interest was taken in the inquest. Abednego Lewis gave evidence of identifica- tion. Deceased, he said. was his son, and had been working at Llwynhelyg Colliery for three or four month; and about two months with the I coal cutting machine. Evan Davies, the driver of the machino, said that deceased was working with him. About 1.30 p.m. 011 the previous Tuesday deceased was taking the cutter bar out of the coal in order to change tho teeth. The machine was then running, and the deceased must have slipped against the bar, and been dragged under it. Witness stopped the machine at once. It wis driven by electricity. Deceased was fast under the ba.r, and terribly cut about the lower part of his body by the teeth. It took two hours to get him out. Gorllwyn Seam was only 18 inches thick, and some two inches of bottom were cut as well. making 20 inches in all. They had, therefore, all to work lying down. The bar could only be removed while in motion r once it had bored into the coal.—In answer to Mr Trump, witness eaid that it was by I reversing the motion that the bar could be worked out. of the coal. That was what deceased wa.s doing at the time of the accident Witness had worked with the machine for two years at the Wimber Colliery and Llwvnhelyg, and had always changed the teeth in the same way as on that occasion. They changed the teeth two or three times a day. After he stopped the machine, the bar would continue to revolve about one minute. — In reply to Mr. W. Thomas, witness said that there was no brake on the machine. There was no room for the deceased to get between the machine and the gob to do the job, and he had, therefore, to lie on the face side of tho machine almost over the bar. He was operating the spindle nearest the face. It was often done that way; other times it was done from the gob side. — In reply to Ir. D. R. Llewelyn, the owner of the colliery, witness said that owing to the cutters being blunt, the machine had been driven or orced backwards abo\JI\ half a yarù. Isaac Davies, who was working in a stall some 20 yards away, gave evidence of the attempts made to get the deceased out. Mr. D. R. Llewelyn, the owner of the col- liery. said the machine was a "Pick-Quick" Machine of the bar type, driven by electric power. The bar was 3ft. 9in. long, and had 32 teeth in it. The bar worked at right angle to the machine, and it had to be backed out of the coal to change the teeth by means of elec- tricity, as was done on that occasion. It was worked at the rate of 500 revolutions a minute. The seam had underneath two inches of rak- ings, 18 inches of coal and two inches of soft holing above. Over that there were six inches of bast, which was not brought down. The wit- ness Davies was a. most experienced driver, and the deceased was a very capable man. Witness described the position of the deceased when he arrived ten minutes after the accident. One of the teeth must have caught his clothes about the thigh.—In reply to Mr W. Thomas, witness said that brakes had neve.r been put on those machines. He admitted it would be safer to do the operation deceased engaged in from the gob side. The Coroner, in summing up, said tnat the jury and himself were face to face with quite a. novel situation. He had heard of these coal cutters, and seen pictures of them, but that was the first fatality which had been caused by one of them in his district. They should do nothing to prevent the use of machines of that kind for probably some of the thin seams could only be so worked on the other hand, they should try to do everything to minimise the risk. A verdict of "Accidental death" was re- turned.

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