‘I checked his pulse but there was no life’ - colleague

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A PITMAN has told an inquest he was the first to reach the body of a workmate who plunged to his death down a mine shaft.

The body of Edlington man Jackie Fisher was discovered by onsetter Glen Hanson lying on a girder about 60ft below the cage landing in No 2 shaft at Maltby Colliery in December 2009.

He phoned colleague Paul Blakeston, an electrician, because he felt unable to go down further to find out what had happened to 52-year-old Mr Fisher.

Mr Blakeston told the jury at the Rotherham inquest: “I saw Glen Hanson in the onsetter’s cabin, he said ‘Jackie’s fallen down the shaft’.

“He said ‘I can’t go down Paul’. I asked what was the best way down. We went down to the lower landing.

“My only focus was on finding Jackie. I went down the ladder and shouted for him, then I saw Jackie on the fourth landing and went further down.

“I shook him a bit, checked his pulse and there was no sign of life. I went to the pit bottom cabin and phoned the control room.

“Glen said ‘what’s Jackie done?’ and then he was in a state of shock. I got him to sit down and went down and checked Jackie again but again there was no sign of life.”

The inquest was previously been told Mr Fisher would have died instantly when his head hit the metal girder in the shaft.

He suffered further multiple injuries which would also have been fatal.

The pathologist who carried out the autopsy said Mr Fisher could not have been saved, even if immediate medical attention had been available.

Other evidence has shown there was a defect on the hydraulic system used to connect a platform to the cage when it descended the shaft and Mr Hanson, the last person on it, had to get out by climbing down a ladder.

Some of the lights at the pit bottom were not working at the time of Mr Fisher’s death.

The inquest is due to conclude tomorrow.