Reported in the News Letter on June 20, 1958: Man killed – and 12 trapped – in mine explosion

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One man died and 12 were trapped – some for nearly seven hours – after an explosive charge went off prematurely yesterday, at Agecroft Colliery, near Manchester.

Three of the survivors were seriously injured and two others were detained in hospital. The other seven were unhurt.

The National Coal Board’s area medical officer, Dr J Lockie, spent hours underground attending the injured. Two local doctors also went down, as did the Coal Board area manager and two engineers.

An Italian rescue worker said: “A doctor who went down bandaged the men and gave them morphia. There was not much room to move about, but the men just sat and talked and managed to keep cheerful.”

The trapped men were employees of the Cementation Company of Bentley Works, Doncaster, who are driving a tunnel between a new shaft and an old one. The pit is not yet in production.

Two hours after the explosion, the telephone link to the trapped men was restored and the rescuers received intermittent reports from them.

Nine ambulance and six fire engines stood by at the pit surface. Relatives kept vigil. The man killed was A Halbert, married, of Cheetham Hill, Manchester.