Friday, 07 October 2011 00:00
The tragedy on the South Wales Coalfield is the worst mining disaster to occur in Wales for three decades.
On 15 September 2011, seven miners were working with explosives at the Gleision Colliery drift mine near Swansea, when the tunnel in which they were working began to fill with water.
Three miners were able to escape to the surface, with one being taken to hospital with life threatening injuries, while the other four were trapped underground.
Despite extensive efforts to rescue the remaining miners who were trapped 90 metres below the surface, South Wales Police confirmed on 16 September that all four of the miners had died.
The accident, the worst to occur in Wales for three decades, left the close-knit Swansea Valley community devastated.
On Sunday 18th, prayers were held at church services across Wales to remember the victims. Sporting tributes were paid by Swansea City F.C. and the Welsh Rugby Team, which dedicated their win at the World Cup Match against Samoa to the families of the miners.
A charity, the Swansea Valley Miners Appeal Fund, was launched after the accident to help support families of the victims.
The small Gleision Colliery is one of the few remaining coal mines still operating in the South Wales Coalfield, a large region of South Wales with rich coal deposits. Coal mining was the main industry in the South Wales valleys until the 1980s, which is home to around 30% of the population of Wales.