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Crowds await news at the Universal Colliery.
Crowds await news at the Universal Colliery.

The Senghenydd colliery disaster occurred at the Universal Colliery in Senghenydd, near Caerphilly, Glamorgan, Wales, on 14 October 1913. The explosion, which killed 439 miners and a rescuer, is still the worst mining accident in the United Kingdom. In an earlier disaster in May 1901, three underground explosions at the colliery killed 81 miners; the inquest into that accident established that the colliery had high levels of airborne coal dust, which would have exacerbated the explosion and carried it further into the mine workings. The cause of the 1913 explosion may have been a spark from underground signalling equipment. The miners in the east side of the workings were evacuated, but the men in the western section bore the brunt of the explosion, fire and afterdamp—a poisonous mixture of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen left after an explosion. It took several weeks for most of the bodies to be recovered. (Full article...)

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