Gleision: Ten years after mining disaster family calls for inquest into deaths of four men

  • How the events of the Gleision mining disaster unfolded

The family of a man who died in a mining disaster which killed three others have called for an inquest into their deaths.

Today marks ten years since the four men were killed in a mining disaster near to Pontardawe, in the Swansea Valley.

Philip Hill, 44, Charles Breslin, 62, David Powell, 50 and 39-year-old Garry Jenkins, drowned when they were attempting to connect two parts of the Gleision mine together using dynamite.

The controlled explosion led to 650,000 gallons of water being unleashed inside the mine.

On the anniversary of his father Garry Jenkins' death, Alex Jenkins called for an inquest to help the families understand what led to their relatives' deaths.

He said: ''I believe an inquest is needed to further each of our understandings of the events leading up to and the event itself.

"Also the handling of the event in the weeks and months later, how all of that was dealt with.

"I believe an inquest would help us understand that in a much more understandable way."

Following the disaster, experts later discovered that enough water to fill an Olympic swimming pool rushed into the area the men were working in.

It was travelling at 21mph and a rate of 1,500 litres per second.

It was the worst mining accident to occur in the UK for three decades.

A combined rescue effort included Mine Rescue Units from across the UK to try and save the men who were 90 metres below the surface.

But despite their search, their bodies were recovered 24 hours later.

Nobody has been convicted for the failings of that tragic day, something the families of the victims have been calling for.

  • Lynette Powell: "I saw the helicopters coming down and I knew something was wrong."

Speaking ahead of the ten-year anniversary, Lynette Powell, the wife of David Powell, paid tribute to her husband.

"You can't believe it, it's like yesterday it happened," she said.

"And every day you've got to work on it for the family's sake and he's deeply missed. He was a good father and a grandfather and a good husband.

"Everybody still talks about David now, to this day they've got a story."

Back in 2016 Mavis Breslin, the widow of Charles Breslin, said she felt that there remained unanswered questions.

"I don't feel like justice was served. It should never have happened. He was such a lovely man who would always go out of his way to help people.

"He was a loving husband and fantastic father. Life has not been the same since he died. I still miss him every day."

Charles was due to retire, three weeks before the accident happened.

Malcolm Fyfield was the boss at the Gleision Colliery at the time.

Malcom Fyfield, the boss of the the Gleision Colliery at the time, was later cleared of gross negligence manslaughter following a three-month trial.

During that trial, prosecutors at Swansea Crown Court said that Mr Fyfield, should not have allowed his workers to dig towards an area where underground water was present.

However he said he had carried out three safety inspections on the eve of the disaster on 15 September 2011.

On the tenth anniversary, a number of memorials have been held to remember those who died in the tragedy.

At Rhos Community Centre, where families gathered to await news ten years ago, a coal shunt was unveiled to remember the disaster.

Local councillor Richard Lewis was one of those behind the idea.

He said: ''A friend of mine acquired the tram, we brought it here and I finished doing it up last weekend.

"I remember the time very well, it was a terrible, terrible day."