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I DEATH IN THE PIT I i - -…

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I DEATH IN THE PIT I i I CAGE FALLS ON ANOTHERCAGE ELY VALLEY DISASTER Graphic Stories Told Two 03 ges fell into the pump at the Ely Colliery, Penygraig, yesterday morning. As reported in yesterday's Evening Express," tho aecidoi:t was caused by the winding machinery going wrong, with the result that the ascending age crashed into the sheaves ■and the descending cage, with its human ircig-ht, wa,s precipitated to the bottom. Smashing tL.e sheaves, the upward cage broke the; rope, and it then fell down the shaft, a distance of between 400 and 500 yards, on top of the cage below. The impact was terrific. The latter contained 24 men, five of whom wt-rc instantaneously kilied, and one, Thomas Morgan, died later from his injuries. The remainder, with four other men at the pit bottom, were severely mauled, sustaining fractures ol limbs and bruises. The experiences 'which the poor fellows Uuderweut were something indescribable. The lights in their lamps had been extinguished, and a scene of the wildest commotion pre- vailed, and most of the unfortunate men thought that they had met their doom. Doubt- less the commotion which prevailed not only added horror to the situation, but in th-e wiianess of the moment probably many of the injuries were received, while the injuries of the others were greatly aggravated. The occupants of the cage had been ruth- lessly huddled together. One of them after- wards stated that hi was pinned underneath five or six others who had sustained broken arms and It-gs, and thus "ere in agoiay of pains and unable to get off, and his efforts at extricating himself were of no avail Thus they remained in the pitchy darkness for a time which appeared to them to be aes. but really only a very short period elapsed, as there were, .as is usual on these occasions, plenty of willing- helpers, who were at all risks to themselves ready to render what assistance could be given to save their comrades from the perilous position in whioh they were placed I Tlil-l Work of Rescue This was by no means an easy task, and ccrtainly was far from being free from danger. The empty cage in its downward fi-.g-ht had torn the lining of the shaft to pieces, so there was no knowing the moment when the overhanging timbers, Ac., might fall and add to the list of fatalities. The iiiiner, however, is noted for his bravery when occasion calls forth his heroism, and the present was no exception to the rule, and at risk of life and limb the men Slurried without thought of their own safety to the assistance of the men who were iu- volved in the wreckage. 1 hesc were, indeed, literally imprisoned, and were absolutely unable to do anything lor thowiseivec. They were piteously moa-t- irig, as every little movement caused excru- ciating pairs to the poor fellows. It was, 1 indeed, as one of them put it. this that iu a way brought them to their senses, as they were 60 ttunned at fir-tot that they were unable to realise what had happened. jviteous appeals were also made for water, and the scene was one which baffles descrrp- t ion. t nder the circumstances, it is regarded "y exTXM'ienced mining engineers at marvellous that the list of fatalities is comparatively so short, and there were some miraculous escapes. For example, one lad in the upper deck of the ill-fated cage, where practically every one cf the others were victims to I terrible injuries, inchidin? the five k=.d the spot close by him, escaped ccathles& how, neither he nor anybody else can explain. The rescue work proved a rather slow pro- cesa. The cage protection gates had firet to be opened by the hitcher. Had the entrance not been previously secured probably ma.ny of the men would liaye been thrown out, and would have been exposed to the second fall- ing cage and other materials which caiae down in great quantities. Ae it was, how- ever, the work of extricating the men proved arduous and painful to a degree. Their "piteous cries are described as heartrending whenever an attempt was made at removing thorn. Those tn the- lower bond were oaged in by the walls of the sump, so that the only means of getting at them was by "digging into the sump. Injured Man Assists in First-Aid I While the number of injured men as recorded on the pit-top, and whose names are given below, number altogether 23, in addition to the five killed, the investigations of the management show that there were really only 24 in the cage altogether, and it is explained that the other four must have been injured on the surface, where portions of the smashed sheaves and other materials simply rained about the place. The ropes I ralso, getting fouled, whirled about, causing ct portion of the wall of the engine-house t.) fall. Great masses of debris, including Portions of the sheaves, also fell down the shaft, and added to the danger of those below, as well as increasing the damage. The value of a knowledge of ambulance was exemplified in 8, particularly striking iranner. A remarkable presence of mind was manifested, by two of the victiute-the brothers Danes. When light was procured, *-< i' a period of distraction and suspense which can he better imagined than described, one brother could see the bone protruding through his clothes. The brave fellow, who had a thorough knowledge of first-aid, after assisting in the bandaging of his brother's leg, actually superintended and assisted in binding up his own fractured limb. The unselfishness shown, too, was simply touch- ing. "You look after the others," was the characteristic pleading of one of the victims, v ho Iximself was badly injured; "I can do all right, and I can wait." The damage done to the plant and shaft must be very considerable, a,nd the manage- ment cannot as yet give any idea as to the ■" sal extent, and, in fact, they will not be able toO do so until some of the broken machinery And ro.p0 and cages havp been replaced, so as to make descent practicable. Bringing Out the Bodies It was, of course, impossible for either the Uninjured men in the workings or the victims to be brought up to the bank by the same shaft. This had to be done through the Pandy Pit, where thousands of men, women, and children congregated in the early Part of the day to get tidings as to the fate cf those below, as it could not then be ascer- tained wh o tiie victims were. Eoweyer, the pithead was deserted a.bout midday, except by the workmen engaged in repairs. The Ely is one of the oldest collieries in the di-tiicf, and engages about 820 men. Origin- ally it was worked by an independent oom- pany, but was afterwards taken over by the Od.rubrian Colliery Trust, when the big com- bine was brought about. At the Pandy Pit, where the bodies of the dead. together with the injured men, were brought to bank. thousands of people assembled from all parts of the valley. Good order wa.s kept by Inspector Hall and his men., A r'everent silence prevailed as the dead men were* carried to their homee by their com- rades, and it was i* pathetio sight to witness women following their husbands as they were carried home on stretchers. The suffer- ings of the injured were considerably relieved by the presence of ambulance men on the epct. List of the Killed I Morgan Evans, collier, Williametown. Thomas Brown, Graigyreos, Penygraig. Alfred W'atkins, collier. Tarbcrville-road, Penygraig. llennie Atkins, collier boy, Penygraig. Gideon Chapman, Edmondstown. Thomas John Morgan, Cornwall-street, Pen- ygraig (died at the hospital). Injured I The following are tb( -,e who were injured: Thomas Williams, Penygraig. Phil Poscoe, Penygraig. Thomas Da vice, Penygraig. Daniel Davies and John Davies, Penygraig (brothere). William Thomas, Williamatown. David John Fry, Williamstowu. Noah Matthews, Dina43. Andrew Thomas, Tonyrefail lliomas 1 yew is, Penygraig. William Martin, Penygraig. David Daviee, Penygraig. Joseph Latcham, Penygraig (married). John Fry. Tynycae (father of D. J. Fry). Thomas Morris, Penygraig. Thomas Morgan, Williamsto-wn. John Jones, Fenygraig. William Belmont, Penygraig. Robert Morgan, Tonypandy. Thomas Matthews, Trealaw. John Odgers, Penygraig. Solomon Lane, Penygraig. E. H. Coles. Williamstown. The whole of the injured men are progress- ing favourably, and there is no immediate apjwehensian that further lives will be sacrificed. Ilarry Marshall, Arthur-Street, is still very low, but expectations are held out that he will reoover. Cause-of the Accident I Mr Fred. A. Gray (chief inspector of mines; I and Mr. P. J Trump (aaniHtant inspector) were also present, who had a oonfi-ultation \nth the officials. Mr. Gray said he preferred nn to give an official report M to the can?e of the accident. It transpires, howover, that the actual c&aao was the br?&kin? of the BpamtMf bar of tbe revemne S-ew J? T. )PXJ?^ th* AMBU" .eemerai? manager, said that the immedi-ate cause of the accident was over-winding, but what was the originating cause it was too soon to say. He wanted to make it explicit that 24 men were involved in the mishap, as far as the occupants of the cage were concerned. The other four men who had been injured must have had their injuries through splinters or I some debris fa.Iling upon them on the surface when the empty cage struck the sheaves. I Not Expected to Live Drs. P. P. Llewellyn, Gab.e Jones, Alfred Jones, and Weichart descended the pit and attended the injured men. Dr. Llewellyn stated that four of the men who were sent to hospital were suffering from compound frac- tures, while amputations would be necessary in four or five cases. The most seriously in- jured is Harry Marshall, who sustained a fracture of the base of the skull, and he is not expected to recover. All the occupants of the cage suffered injury either in the form of bruising or shock, but seven or eight ca-ses a.re more serious. I SURVIVORS' STORIES. j Empty Cage's Crash Upon Injured Men The men who escaped relate their terrible experiences in the darkness. Daniel Da vies, in an interview, said the scene was one beyond description. First of all came the big tht-.mp down to the bottom, and they were already rendered quite dis- tracted, when they xere horrified by the empty cage cra.shin.g through with tremen- dous forof) on top of the one in which they wev« imprisoned, and their being in totai darkness added to the terrible experiences of all concerned. When ultimately light was brought to the cage, about tl-e first thing he saw was a bone protruding from the thigh of his brother, David Davies. "You could see the naked bonhe said, "right through his trousers." So injured were they all that any Biavement on the part of anybody or anything caused the whole of them to groan a-n,v-tli-?'n7 ? c-an??ed the whole of them to groan I "Something Horrible" Phil Pascoe. who, perhaps, was the least vnjured of the lot was equally graphic in hie account of what occurred. Fortunately, he had only a slight shock, and was the first to give succour to his comrades. "But the heartrending soreams," he said, were some- thing horrible. We were then at the bottom of the pit, and on cage had passed through some of the timbering, which prevented us being hurled down the sump. At last the hitcher came, and I was able to hand out man after man, and the experience was one I shall never fors-et." Men Screamed with Pain Thomas D. Thomas, a collier, of 34, Peny- g'l-?i?-road. who was in the cage descending to work, said the first intimation he had of anything being wrong was a jerking of the cage. For a few ,°econds it swung about, and then went down like a stone to the bottom of the shaft. "We did not know exactly what had happened, but thought the sides of the shaft weoe falling in suddenly, a.nd with a rUlsh the empty bond was taken to the top, then came down with a crash, and was smashed to atoms. It was positively miracu- lous that any of us oscaped with our lives. The horror of being in the pitchy dark- ness was awe inspiring. I thought my [ end had come. and being a widower. my nrst thoug-ht was for the four children ¡ depending upon me, the eldest being not yet fourteen. Lights were loudly called for, but could not be obtained for the moni-ent, owing to the danger of an explosion. When they were procurtd a terrible spectacle presented itself. Men were scattered a-jout in all directions, some being in such agony that they streamed with pain when touched. The injured called despair- ingly for water, and the whole scene was something heartrending. There were plenty of men in the workings, who, at great risk to themselves, commenced the work of rescue. Dr. Llewellyn, with a rescue party, was soon I on the spot, with ambulance and medical appliances, having descended bythe shaft of the Pandy Pit. It will be soirS time," con- cluded Mr. Thomas, "before I can return to work. My back is bad, my hand and foot crushed, and the shock has quite unnerved me. Five Men on Top of Him William Fry, who, with his son, David John Fry, was in the cage, when interviewed in the afternoon as he lay in bed sJid :It came all so sudden. We went down like a stone. It was all over in a moment. We were huddled up together, and there were five men on top of me with broken bones and all fJt>rtg of injuries. I tried my best to extricate* my- self, but could not do m. It was pitch dark, and our senses were really knocked out of us. so that I doubt very liyich if any of us ca.n give an authentic account of what did occur. It was the groaning and shouting of the men in the two decte that made us first realise the nature of the catastrophe of which we were the victims. It was, I think, through being under the other men that I got my injuries, and I had to stay in this position for so long a time that I was numbed and helpless by the time I was takon out." I OFFICIAL REPORT Cage Smashed to Atoms I Mr Trevor Price, the assistant general manager of the Cambrian Combine, supplied the following official report of the accident to the press:— The accident happened about 5.45 this (Friday) morning, when the men, in the usual course of things,' were descending the mine All of a sudden the ascending eagre, when within a length to the top, was seen suddenly to fly upward at a rapid rate, with the result that the ascending cage came into contact with the sheaves on top of the head- gea.r, causing one of the sheaves to be broken to pieces, and at the same time snapping the winding rope a little above the cap. The result was that the empty cage fell with tremendous force through the mouth of the pit down into he shaft. Simultaneously the men who were descending on the other side felt,a,a unusual jerk. The cage dropped a. little faster, when it suddenly c-ame in con- tact with the landing beam. This first jerk seems to have caused a great deal of alarm, which, probably, accounted for a good many injuries. But what really did the great damage was the empty carriage falling from the top coming into contact with the side of the carriage containing the men at the pit bottom. After the accident it was discovered that five out of the twelve men on the top deck of the carriage had been killed, whilst among them was a little boy, who walked out unhurt. The twelve on the bottom deck, although more or less ba,dily hurt, escaped fatal injury. The damage has been considerable, both on the surface and underground. Some of the stays of the head-gear have been broken away, two of the guide ropes an one wind- ing rope are broken, and two cages are so damaged that they will be unfit for use again, the empty one being smashed to atoms. We cannot say what the damage is in the pit itself, because we have been unable to descend the shaft to make a proper exami- nation, owing to the guide ropes and sheaves being broken. We cannot make a proper examination for a good many hours, until these have been* re-placed. Every one of the hitchers and the men hap.Dening to be at the pit bottom rendered valuable assistance in getting the llien out of their perilous position. The pit having been I literally torn and everything hanging out, no one knew at what moment some timber or beams might fall and strike them. Every- body who took part in the rescue work is to be highly commended. "His Majesty's Inspector F. A. Gray and Assistant-inspector F. J. Trump examined both surface and underground. It is difficult to ascertain the exact cause of the accident, it being up to the present somewhat inexplicable." Amputations at Porth Hospital FOlur of the more seriously injured, Thomas John Morgan (since dead), John Davies. Thomas Morris, and William Thomas, were taken to the Porth Cottage Hospital. Drs. Llewelyn and J. Naunton Morgan had to per- form amputations on three of the unfor- tunate men. Morgan had his arm ampu- taken off at the knee, and Morris's leg was taken o. at the knee, and Morris's leg was also amputated. Thomas suffered from com- pound fractures of both legs, and an opera- tion of wiring the bones was performed in his case. Joint Inquest I A joint inquiry will be conducted into the [ accident by Mr. R. J. Rhys and Mr. D. Rees, j coroners, as the bodies of victims lie in their I respective districts. ( Message from Home Secretary Mr. F. A. Gray, Chief Inspector of Mires for Cardiff District, received the following telegram from the Secretary of St,ate:- Secretary of State lea.rns with great regret of the accident at the Naval Colliery, Per.ygraig. Please cend full partic-ulars to Under-Secretary of State, Homo Office. In the Hospital Inquiries at Porth Cottage Hospital this morning show that the three men, William Thomas, John Daviee. and Thomas Morgan, who were taken there for the purposes of operation yesterday, are progressing as well as can be expected. The Inquest The inquest has been fixed to open at 2.15 on Monday afternoon at Nazareth Ohape I Vestry, Williamstown. Only formal evidence wUl be taken, and the inquiry will be ad- journed to a convenient date for the purpose of making full investigations.

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