Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Miners. (No astrology today).

Last week's news of a mining disaster in West Virginia brought memories of other such disasters, back in the UK, in Wales, northern England and Scotland. It's horrendous that such events can still happen in 2010, in spite of improved conditions and new technology. So much depends on the integrity of mine owners, whether they fully uphold safety regulations. It appears, from some reports, that there are still mine owners who fail to do so.
MONTCOAL, West Virginia (Reuters) - Drills boring into a West Virginia coal mine on Wednesday carried hope for a "miracle" rescue of four miners missing after a blast killed 25 people in the worst U.S. mine disaster in a quarter century.

The explosion happened on Monday at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine, 30 miles south of the state capital Charleston. Eleven dead have been identified, three of whom were related, and 14 bodies were still in the mine.

Since that was published 4 more bodies have been found, the death toll is now 29.


As a tribute to the families of those lost in the West Virginia disaster, a poem from a website dedicated to the miners of Wales (here)
Without Choice

Child miners who worked and sometimes died in total darkness,
many never reaching their teenage years;

Small undernourished boys, some born with defects of the eyes,
limbs or spine, plucked from school at an early age, seeing
daylight on Sundays only;

Victims of major disasters by explosions and other causes, when
hundreds died at a stroke; often there were several deaths in the
same household;

The lone deaths that went almost unremarked, each no less a
disaster for the family, sometimes one left without a breadwinner;

Gaunt, hollow-eyed, spent men, inhabiting fragile, blue-scarred
shells of bodies, destined to die at an early age;

Survivors who lost limbs or faculties, or suffered disfigurement;

Those whose ordeals were prolonged in later years as bed or
chair-bound invalids gasping for breath, their life threads
maintained by boxes of tablets and oxygen cylinders;

Surface workers who lost life and limb as they worked in dusty
screens or unsheltered areas, often in excesses of rain, cold and

Those who lived to attain much anticipated retirement, yet only
briefly experienced it;

Wonderful ' Mams' who selflessly went without, giving priority to
the needs of children and husbands. In harsh environments many
aged before their time and prematurely slipped away;

Often their mantles would be assumed by teenaged daughters
who became women overnight, caring for fathers and becoming
mothers to siblings, sometimes at the cost of personal

Unsuspecting, innocent babes and guardians, the most cruelly
punished of all, dying in the ' safety ' of schoolrooms.


Even today, the effects of some of these once common
occurrences are ongoing. In a world of comparative plenty and
justice, they apply proper perspectives and priorities to complaints
about current everyday life.


by Bill Richards.
Cambrian Colliery, Rhondda.

(Thank you, Mr. Richards.)


anthonynorth said...

A heartfelt post. These disasters are so terrible.

Twilight said...

anthonynorth ~ Yes. The sooner we stop needing/using coal the better!