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PIT EXPLOStON.I

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PIT EXPLOStON. I FATAL RESULT AT TUMBLE. I Morgan D. Treharne, collier, Tumble, died at. the Llanelly Hospital on Friday, following injuries which he sustained recently at the Great Mountain Colliery. Deceased, it ap- pears, was working in the face of the slant with two others. Six holes had been charged for firing, and the first two exploded. The third, however, missed fire, and Treharne went to detach the cable from the detonator. Having' given the usual signal, the current was turned on, and the explosion took pLace, deceased sustaining severe burns, which ter- minated fatally. THE INQUEST. I Mr. W. W. Brodie conducted an inquest en the body at Capel A]s Schoolroom on Monday afternoon.. Mr.DavidRandelI,ofthe'Hi'mof Messrs. Randell, Saunders, and Randell. appeared on behalf cf the Miners' Federition of Great Bri- tain, and Mr White, ELM. Inspector of Mines. attended. Lewis Treharne, 54 High Street, Tumble, collier, said the body the jury had viewed was that of his brother, who formerly resided at 47 Raihvay Terrace. Tumble. Deceased was a I collier," and was 26 years of age. Witness last- saw him alive at the colliery on the 24thLilt. Edward Miles, certificated manager of the Great Mountain Colliery, said the place where the accident occurred was in the new slant. The Coroner: Where did the accident occur? —In the air drift of the new slant. Is the coal being worked in the new slant ?— Yes. What operations were being done?—The air drift was being extended to meet the new slant at another place. How many men were working there?—Three men in each shift. And how many shifts were there?—Three. Was the extension being done by the com- pany or by the contractor?—By the contractor. Who was the contractor?—John Thomas. Was there a company or only John Thomas? —I only knew John Thomas. Were you using naked lights or any ethers? Locked lamps. Were gaiety lamps used by way of precau- tion, and were they necessary P—Only by way ofnrecaution. Was it. necessary?—It was not necessary to .introduce the lamps. The innammable gas had not been found in the previous three months in such a quantity to be indicative of danger?—No. Can you tell the court to what extent gas had been found in that period?—I remember two occasions distinctly. On one occasion it was reported to me at about 10 o'clock that gas had been found, and when I got there at 11 o'clock it had gone. Was the gas found in small quantities?— Very small quantities. The Coroner (to the jury): The reason why I am going into these questions is that if in- uamma.ble gas is found in large quantities certain inles apply, which do not apply other- wise. (To the witness) Can you speak as to the quantity of gas found on the second occa- sion—No. Did you ascertain as to the quantity?—Yes; it was very small. Was it in the airway?—In the in-take. Had you appointed shot-flrers ?—Yes the foreman of the shift was the fireman at the time oi'the accident. What is his name?—Evan Davies. The ap- pointment was verbally. Was there a. fireman at the time?—No. Can you say what precautions you had taken with regard to the detonators?—They were keDtinatincase. Was it a proper place?—Yes. They were in charge of the engineer in the absence of the fireman. Had you given the shot-tirer any ii.,striie- tions ?—No: lie had been in that capacity for nine months. So, in your opinion, he was a fully qualified mqn?-Yes. Do you know the cable used on tlie occa- sion?—Yes. Did you inspect it before the accident?— No: afterwards. In how long after the accident did you in- spect the face?—Three or four days after- wards. The fireman inspected it after the accident. Can you say when you were in the airway before the accident occurred?—I was there within a week. I take it the work was being carried on in accordance with your instructions, and in a proper manner?—Yes. i The witness then produced a plan, and pointed out where the accident occurred, and showed the manhole from where the cable about 22 yLi-(Is a\va,y. was worked, this being about 22 yards away from the place of the accident. There was a cross-way connection to the main slant. All .the men, wit-h the exception of the deceased. were in the manhole. Mr. Waddell: Has any gas been found within the last three months in the place where the aeci dent occurred'!—No. The Coroner: In the airway itself no gas has been found?—No; only in the main slant. Mr. Randell: Who appointed the shot-firer? Witness: My predecessor. Had you given him any special instructions? —No. What is your theory of the accident?—I should not like to give any theory. It was a very unfortunate accident. Esau Williams, collier, Rose Villa, Cefn- eithin. Cross Hands, said he was working in the new airway on the 24th March. He was in partnership with John Thomas and John Jones, who had the contract to extend the slant. Witness was in charge of the shift w hen tlie accident occurred, which started at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. There were two men working with him at the time, the deceased and Thomas Jones. Witness was appointed by the manager as shot-firer in the absen-ce of tlie two firemen. The accident took place at about, quarter to eight, when the firemen were absent. Before the accident, witness and tlie other m.en had prepared six holes in the face for shot-firing. Before firing the shots he re- moved the men from danger, ordering Thomas Jones to the manhole. Afterwards lie asked Jones to connect tlie cable with the battery. Witness then tested the cable on his lamp, and found it to be all right. He again ordered Thomas Jones to disconnect, and subsequently connected it with the detonator of the first hole. Witness and Jones then went up to the manhole, and Tom Jones connected the cable. Before doing so they ascertained that every- thing was safe. Thomas Jones fired tlie first shot in accordance with his instructions, and after the shot had gone off Jones disconnected the cable. Treharne then went down to test the 'cable at the hc.le, and when the cable had been connected the current was turned on. After the cable had again been disconnected it was switched to the 'second hole. On con- necting the cable to the second hole deceased came up to the manhole, and the shot was fired. The same course was repeated for the tmrdtnne.tmttnesnotnronotgoon. It subsequently tra.nspired that the third shot did go off, and that the Coroner had lJøn wrongly informed. Witness, continuing said he sent the de- ceased to the face for the third shot. When he got to the face he shouted, "I am going to test ihe c-a,ble." Tom Jones asked him if he was ready, and he replied, "Yes." In accor- dance with. witness's instructions, Tcm Jones cc'nnected the current. Immediately he touched the handle of the hatter, the *'hole" went. <)ut. Witness stopped for a second, and then ran down, and after looking about in the smoke he found the deceased in a sitting position on the opposite side to the hole. He was alive, hut seriously injured about the head. On one side of the head the nesh and hair had h&en Mown off. The left hand was also Mown off. The Coroner: Was there any mark of ',lie (.x- plosion on his face? Witness: There were cuts caused by s.'iall stones. How far was he from the shot-hole?—Eleven feet away. Then he had been blown that distance, you think?-Yes. Witness, continuing, said that Ire did not have any appliances on the spot. hut deceased was immediately attended to. He was taken up to the front of the boiler. The Coroner at this stage informed the wit- ness that he need not answer questions the answers to which might tend to incriminate him. The Coroner: Why was it that you sent the deceased to the face, instead of going your- self? Witness: I have no reason to give. The Coroner: Is it the correct, thing for the shot-fireman to do?—I cannot say that. You are a shot-fireman and ought to know the custom?—I did what was correct. Then it is usual for n, shot-fireman to employ a man in that way ?—It is necessary to have one in such a place as we worked. The reason why I ask that is that it was one of the questions the jury will have to consider. Is the statement you have made as to how the accident occurred the same as you have al- ways made?—Yes. Have you said at all that the third shot had mis-fired ?—No. The Manager: I understood that the third shot had mis-fired. The Coroner: That is what I understood. and I want it made clear. (To witness) Are you quite sure that the statement given to-day as to how the accident happened is correct ?- Yes. What explanation can you give for the acci- dent ?—It v./as a mystery to me. The Inspector: Who appointed you as shot- fireman?—The day fireman. J Was the appointment a written one?—No, it was verbal. Who gave you permission to take caps and. detonators underground?—The day fireman. Were the caps taken down in a locked box? —No. If you had the authority to fire the shots, had you the power to authorise anyone to fire them for you ?—I thought they were as fit as myself. So that you were doing wrong in not firing the shots yourself?—I don't know. Inspector White: Even in a naked-light col- liery one man is deputed to fire sliots, and no one else can fire. Continuing his cross-examination by the In- spector, witness said that he had a handle tc' the battery, and if he kept it in his pocket no ona could use the battery. He could give no explanation why lie should not have gone down to connect, the cable. The Inspector: What were you doing? You were sitting down in the manhole, doing no- thing?— was standing, looking at Thomas Jones, and listening to Treharne. But the important part of the work was left to .Tones and Treharne?—Yes. Had you taken the precaution of keeping the handle of the battery in your pocket, and connecting the cable yourself, this accident would not have occurred ?—No. Could you have seen that the cable was dis- connected irom the other end?—No. Why not?—Because one end was in the manhole, and the oilier at the bottom. Would it not have been the proper tiling foT you to have kept the handle in your pocket, and to have gone to the f;jce to see whether the cable was disconnected?—Yes. Mr. Waddell: Is it not usual for the shot- firer to connect the cable to tlie detonator?— Yes. I have connected a cable to a. detonator when I was not acting as shot-nrer. The Coroner: Have you known of a shot-firer to allow another person to disconnect the cable ?—No. You seem to have done it on this occasion? -Yes. In reply to Mr. Rauuell, witness said that wlien the shot-fireman was Dresent lie would attend to the shot-firing. Witness would not receive special instructions in the absence of tlie shot-fireman. No instructions were given as to tlie gas. The working place was clear of gas. The detonators were received from the ena'ine-man in an open box. The Cbroner: Do you say that you ought to have gone to tlie face with the handle of tlie battery?—Yes. if I was not to test the cables. The Inspector: But would it not have been better for you to have gone to the face ancT tested the cables, and then send a. man back with the handle of the battery ?—Yes, I think so now. The Inspector: The rule says. "He shall himself couple up the cable to the charge, and- shall do so before coupling the cable to the' firing apparatus." Do you seriously tell us that the deceased told you he was testing the cable, whereas, as; a matter of fact he was connecting the cable? —Yes. Dr. E. Ward deposed that lie first saw the deceased on March 27th, and attended him uP to his death. Death was due to injury to tb? skull, which could have been caused by ? explosion such as that spoken of by tbf ? witness. After his examination he ,vas oi t?" I opinion that the deceased must have bee? close to the hole, because his face and hands were marked bv the shots, the middle finder' of the left hand having been blown off. The' left thumb was also extensively injured. Thomas Jones, Railway Terrace, Tumble' collier, said lie was working with the deceased a.nd Esau Williams on the day of the accident- After they had fired the second hole. witness disconnected the battery at tlie manhole. He did so in accordance with mstructi.ons received from Williams. Deceased then went: down to' } the face. No one told him to go, neither was he bound to do so. After going down he shouted "I am going to try the cable now." EsaU Williams told him (witness) to connect the.' battery, which he did. Deceased then called out, "Try it now." Witness then turned on the current, as per instructions received from Esau Williams. The liole went out imdedi- ately. If the third shot was connected, de- ceased must have done so himself. The method of firing the shot in -[his case was similar to that usually adopted. By the Inspector: He and Esau Williams were keeping proper attention while they were in the manhole. They were only 22 yards away, and he could not understand how he" misunderstood his instructions. Is it your custom to test the cable after eveBV shot fired?—Yes, if that is not tlie last hole'. Then what is your reason for disconnecting the wires frcm the battery, because there is no earthly reason why you should?—That is OUT custom, but there would be no danger in doing it the other way. Is it not a fac-t that you do not test the' cable after tlie firing of each shot?—-It is only once in a hundred or thousand that it hap- pens. Continuing, witness said he had seen Esau Williams going down to the face to connect the cable to the detonator, while the fireman' remained in the manhole. Mr. Waddell: Would it not be better for the' fireman to go to the face to test the cable, and leave someone else to turn on the battery?-- I cannot say. Thomas James Morgan, 2 Railway Tei.Tace,- Tumble. night fireman at. the New Cross- Hands Colliery, said lie was of opinion that the cable had been connected, and that it.s.. ¡ point was broken when the shot went off. He believed it had been properly connected to' the detonator. The Coroner: What is it that makes von' come to that conelusion 'i- B8causo the point'' of the cable was chopped. Do you think it could have got connected accidentally?—No. but the deceased was $". wdid kind of person, and I believe that during' absence of mind he connected the cable to the detonator instead of the lamp. Will you explain what you mean bv his, wild wavs?—Wh(--n doins- unvtbmn' inmV I at it.almost before receiving permission. J- You mean that he was impulsive?—Yes. Do you test the cable after eV'OTY allot. yoU fire?—No, but I examine the cable. When you fire shots do you go down to con' nect. or send anyone else?—I first go down to' examine for gas, and the foreman comes dowD' to show what holes he wants to fire. Occa- sionally he connects the detonators in my pre- sence. Do you connect the battery before goM down to examine for gas?—Yes, and I tak<? the key with me. Then who fires the shot?—I do. You do not allow anyone to do it for you?-" No. Has Esau Williams been a careful man his work?—Yes. most careful. Do you consider him to be a perfectly trust- worthy man to carry out an operation under- ground ?—I do. Trustworthy to carry out shot-firing?—Yes. After what you have heard to-day, do YOO think lie should have some lessons from you' —Yes. The Coroner: It would do him good. would it not?—No answer. The Coroner having summed up. the jufy returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

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