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October 17, 2011

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Man questioned on suspicion of manslaughter in Welsh mine investigation

A man has been arrested in connection with the incident at Gleision Colliery last month, in which four miners lost their lives.

South Wales Police announced earlier today (18 October) that a 55-year-old man was arrested this morning at an address in the Swansea Valley and is currently being questioned at Port Talbot police station on suspicion of gross-negligence manslaughter.

The man has not been named, though reports elsewhere have claimed it is Gleision mine manager, Malcolm Fyfield. South Wales Police would not confirm this when contacted by SHP.

The four men who died – Philip Hill, 44, Charles Breslin, 62, David Powell 50, and Garry Jenkins, 39 – were trapped in the mine when it flooded, on 15 September.

South Wales Police are working with the HSE to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths. Examination of the scene is now complete and the mine is closed and under the control of the Coal Authority.

Detective Chief Inspector Dorian Lloyd, of the Specialist Crime Team and the Senior Investigating Officer leading the investigation into the deaths, said: “The arrest follows consultation between the South Wales Police, Health and Safety Executive and the Crown Prosecution Service to review the evidence gathered to date.

“We continue to work closely with the bereaved families throughout this process and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the communities affected by this incident for their continued support and patience.

“We will do everything possible to fully understand how these four men lost their lives.”

Yesterday, the Shadow Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain, claimed attempts to rescue the mine-workers at Gleision were seriously hampered by a lack of resources.

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