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article imageWelsh miners trapped 300 ft. underground due to tunnel collapse

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Sep 15, 2011 in World
A rescue operation is underway to rescue the four remaining miners after a tunnel collapsed at the Gleision Colliery mine this morning near the village of Cilybebyll in the Swansea Valley, South Wales.
Police helicopters and rescue teams were called to the mine around 9:30 this morning.
There were seven miners reported 300 feet underground after the collapse.
Three of the men were able to get out and one was taken to a hospital whose condition is unknown.
Dailymail.co.uk reports a police spokesman said, "Seven people were initially in the mine at the time, three of them got out - with one taken to hospital. His condition is currently unknown. It is believed the other four remain inside. A rescue operation is under way. As you can imagine, it is quite a dynamic situation."
ibtimes.com reports one witness told the Daily Telegraph newspaper, "We all dreaded that this might by another Chile mining collapse or even worse. The police and fire-people were up here straight away. These boys are very experienced miners and as hard as nails. But it must be terrifying to be cut off like this. As far as we are aware nobody has been seriously hurt although the boys must be shaken up by it. We've had so many pit tragedies in Wales over the years but we thought all those days we over."
Chris Margetts, from South Wales fire and rescue service said the mine flooded due to a wall from an old mine that failed. The water entered the area where the miners were and cut off their exit.
Water is being pumped out and as soon as rescuers are able to start searching off the main shaft they will look through the smaller tunnels and shafts.
theguardian.com reports Margetts said, "The conditions down there are favourable. It's not raining, there's water at the bottom but the air supply is good."
The rescuers are "hopeful and optimistic" they will be able to get the miners out.
Carwyn Jones, Welsh first minister, said all of Whales is praying the miners will make it out alive. "As someone with very strong family links with both the Swansea valley and the mining industry, my thoughts and prayers – and those of the people of Wales – are with the trapped men and their families at this difficult time.
My main priority is to ensure those trapped are rescued as quickly and as safely as possible."
He added "All emergency services are at the scene – and they are being supported by specialist rescue teams from across the UK. They are working in very dangerous and difficult conditions. We know that water is ingressing into the mine. The mine itself is underneath quite a steep slope near the river Tawe."
The latest report said the injured miner was air lifted to the hospital and is in critical condition.
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