Miner fights for life after pit incident

Hatfield Colliery.
Hatfield Colliery.
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Doctors are fighting to save a miner injured in an underground accident at Doncaster’s last remaining pit.

The 50-year-old has already undergone major surgery, believed to be on his abdomen, and faces another operation according to his union chief.

The miner at Hatfield Colliery, who has not been named, is said to be in a critical condition with his family at his side in the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield.

The Mines Inspectorate yesterday launched an investigation into the incident.

It is understood he was hit by a blast from a high-pressure hose during the day shift at the main gate section of the colliery’s HO6’s coal face.

The man, believed to be from the Mansfield area, was given immediate first aid at the scene by colleagues, and was then brought out of the mine to a waiting ambulance crew.

Once at the surface he was examined and stabilised by paramedics from the ambulance service who, along with other emergency services, had been notified immediately after the accident occurred at about 10am on Saturday.

A spokesman for Hargreaves Services, who operate Hatfield Colliery, said: “Our colleague was taken to the Northern General Hospital, where his immediate family joined him.

“Hatfield Colliery’s nursing Sister spoke with our colleague at the hospital after his arrival. We understand he has a number of injuries and it is likely he will undergo surgery and further treatment in the next day or so.

“Our human resources and welfare team are in contact with our colleague’s family to offer them whatever help and support they feel they might need.”

Chris Kitchen, national secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, said: “All I know at this stage is one of our members has been injured and has already been operated on, and might need another operation on his lower abdomen.

“He’s been caught by a high pressure hose on one of the roof supports which has sprung a leak.

“It is quite an uncommon problem and there hasn’t been one for a few years.”

Mr Kitchen said he was ‘not happy’ the NUM had learned about the accident via a text message from one of their members, and not from the colliery management.

The Hargreaves spokesman said they had ‘informed all of the appropriate agencies, including the police and the Health and Safety Executive, and a full investigation has already begun’.

He continued: “While this investigation is under way we are unable to provide any further details of the accident itself. However, once the investigation is concluded we will provide more information at the appropriate time.

“Our prime focus at this moment is on the health and welfare of our colleague, a highly skilled, well-respected and experienced operator.

“Every one of us at Hatfield is hoping for his swift recovery and recuperation.”

The colliery has not been closed since the accident, but the area where it happened has been secured.

The Health and Safety Executive confirmed specialist mines inspectors were on site yesterday.