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TRAGIC DEATH OF GLAN RHYD…

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TRAGIC DEATH OF GLAN RHYD MINER. INSUFFICIENT VENTILATION. I Dr. W. R. Jones, the Breconshire Coroner, held an inquest at Libanus Chapel, Glanrnyd, Ystradgynlais. on Tueedav, touching the death of Robert Young Taylor, of Glanrhyd, who was found unconscious at Pantmawr col- liery, Ystradgynlais, on Saturday. Mr Bull represented the Company, and Mr T. J. Randall for the relatives. Mr. W. D. Owen, H.M. Inspector of Mines, was also present. Mr Vm. Morgan was the foreman of the jury. John Dixon Harker, 1, Tudor street, Glanrhyd, a collier, gave evidence of identification. He was the son-in-law of deceased, who was a oollier, and worked at Pantmawr Colliery. The accident took place on Saturday. Wit- ness was engaged with the deceased at the colliery. About one o'clock on Saturday, the fireman tired a shot in their working place,. and they went round to the other side to make an- other hole. After this was done, the fireman fired the second shot, and they cam back to the main slant. De- ceased had been left at the latter place. The Coroner: Why didn't the de- ceased go round with you ? Witness: So that we could go round the other side. Coroner: Do you think that the exertion was too great for him to go round with you ?—Yes. That was so, and he said it was not necessary for him to go round. Proceeding, witness said that when they returned after firing the second shot they expected to find deceased standing on the drift in the same place as where he had been left. They found him, h-owever, at the face lying head downwards. He was unconscious, but he was in a position to breathe. Witness thought deceased bled a little. Coroner: What ma d e the deceased go back into the face? Witness: I think he went to see if I the shot that had been fired had com "> through. And the ventilation there was b.K1 Yes. sir. What was the distance from t 1 ° slant to the face?—About 27 to yards. Witness proceeding said he thou iit deceased was sleeping when they found him. He shook him several times, and then they tried to carry him to a place where they could get fresh air. Coroner: And the air there was un- avoidably bad? Witness: Yes, sir. Until the con- nection is made. Witness went on to say that they had to pull deceased out from the face. There was a stretcher at the colliery. and some time would elapSe to fetch it down. The deceased weighed about 16 stone, and they could not carrv him out. Witness did not think de- ceased suffered from shortness of breath or palpitation. Deoeased never had rheumatic fever or swollen leg^i., in fact he had never been bad in his life. Deceased had been a total ab- stainer for the last six months. Prior to that deceased took a glass of beer, and exceeded himself occasionally. De- ceased was a widower with seven children. Four of the children were dependent on deceased. By Mr Owen: Witness did not hear the fireman giving any instructions to the deceased not to go into the, face. Witness could not say what powder they used, but he thought it was "Bobbinite." The fireman charged the hole, and after the shot had been fired, the fireman went in and witness followed him to within five or six yards of the face. There were a lot of fumes and sulphur about, and he turned straight back. It was too much for him. Witness did not hear the fireman tell the deceased not to go into the face until he returned from the other side. Mr Owen: Did the fireman place a cross at the spot to indicate that it was dangerous? Witness: I did not see him. In reply to further questions, wit- ness said his father-in-law had been round to the place where the second shot was fired on one occasion, but he did not care to go there again, as the place was too small. Witness had never seen any gas in that airway prior to that day. Mr Owen: When was the manager at that place? 0 Witness: He was at the mouth of the place on Saturday. Had you made any complaints at all about the ventilation being bad?—No, sir. Do you believe the ventilation was bad ?—Yes. There was no ventila- tion at all. In reply to further question, wit- ness said that his father-in-law had not told him about the conversation he had with him (Mr Owen) on the previous Tuesday in regard to the ventilation at the place. By Mr Randall: They had been busy working all the morning. Deceased was a very strong man, and made no complaint that day of feeling unwell. Deceased had been working at the col- tierv for about five weeks, and had not lost one day on his own account. De- ceased had worked previously at Gur- nos Colliery. By Mr Bull: Witness made no com- plaint to the fireman that there were fumes about. He told his father-in-law and the fireman was there at the time. Thomas Thomas, fireman, of Plasy- coed, Cwmgiedd, said he fired ? shot in the airway aout 1.15 to 1.30 a.m. Saturday. The deceased charged the shot in the presence of witness. Wit- ness then went on and examined ,the place within a yard of the face. He saw smoke about there, but no fumes. The place in his opinion was ade- quately ventilated. There was no gas about, and it would take K to 20 minutes to clear the smoke. There was no current passing through the place where the shot was fired, as there was no outlet. Mr Owen: Could you ventilate that place ? Witness: Yes, sir. How?—With a fan, sir. Any other way ?— Yes, sir. How ?—With bratticing, sir. Do you think it was a healthy place to work? I don't think it was un- healthy, sir. Were you affected by the smoke when you went in ?—No, sir. No headache ?--No, sir. When you were appointed fireman at this colliery, were you given a book of special rules ?-No, sir, but I have got them. You know that it is part of your duty to .see that every place in your district is properly ventilated?- Yes, sir. Did you tell the deceased not to go into this place?—Yes, sir. Why?—Because it was dangerous. Dangerous in what way ?—There was the danger after the second shot was fired. Did you cross off the place ?—No. sir. Is that part of your duty?—I told the man not to go in. Answer the question. It is quite simple ?—Yes, sir. By the Coroner: Why didn't you make a cross at the spot? Witness: I left the deceased there at the opening to stop people going in, and I thought the man would do his business. By Mr Bull: Witness did not hear a word by the previous witness that the ventilation was bad. Morgan John Rowlands, manager of the colliery was the next witness, and was examined by Mr Owen. He had been manager for four months. He said that the object of the airway was to make a communication between the main slant and the return. Witness had been at the face on Saturday morning, an dhe saw no trace of any- thing indicative of danger. The temperature was higher than usual. He gave permission for shot firing to be carried on because deceased had asked him, as the (6)al was a bit stiffer than when they started. He con- sidered that there was adequate venti- lation there. Mr Owen drew the attention of wit- ness to a section of the Coal Mines Regulation Act in regard to ventila- tion. Witness still adhered to his state- ment that the ventilation was ade- quate. The ventilation at that spot could have been improved, but not without interfering with the general ventilation of the colliery. It was quite possible for carbonic oxide to have been given out after shot firing, and a small percentage of carbonic oxide was fatal. He did not think that the ventilation had anything to do with the cause of death. Tlie Coroner, in summing up, said there was no question about it that the airway was sufficiently ventilated, but. what they had to deal with was whether death was due to bad ventila- tion. After retirement, the foreman an- nounced that the jury were unanimous- ly of the opinion that the deceased met his death by suffocation, as a result of gaseous fumes. Coroner: Dou you bring a charge against anybody? Foreman: We have not discussed it from that standpoint, sir. Do you find anyone to blame?—We considered there W was negleet in the way of ventilation. Do you say it was culpible ?-No, we don't want to say that. On the advice of the Coroner the jury again retired for about thirty minutes, during which time the Coroner was called in on two occasions for assistance. Upon returning the foreman said the jury had reconsidered the evidence and they were then of the opinion that the deceased met his death by suffocation, possibly owing to a weak heart, accelerated by insufficient ven- tilation. The Coroner pointed out that there was no evidence that the man was suffocated. The foreman said they had based their verdict on the evidence. The Coroner said there was not a tittle of evidence to that effect. "Do you find that there was any neglect ?" asked the Coroner. Foreman: No. we do not find that there was culpable or wilful neglect, but we wish to add a rider, which is as follows: "We desire to draw the serious attention of the management that in future they should see that all places of this kind should be pro- perly ventilated." The Coroner said he agreed with the latter part of the verdict, but not with the first portion, because there was nothing in the evidence to justify the statement that the man died through suffocation.

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