Rescuers say that specialist divers have discovered the body of one of the four miners trapped in a flooded Swansea Valley mine.
The body has not yet been recovered and the identity of the man is not known at this time, the families of the four men have been informed.
At a press conference police and fire rescue services said the body was found on the exit side of a shaft. They believe the other three men are trapped on the other side of the shaft at the Gleision Colliery, they still believe they can be successfully rescued.
Speaking at the press conference Chris Margetts from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said:
“The search and rescue operation continues. Obviously we’ve had the disappointing news that we’ve discovered one of the miners.
“The miner that we found was in a different section of the mine, so he was basically on the exit side of the body of water.
“So therefore, the search and rescue mission continues because there are still air pockets on the other side of the body of water, and there’s a blockage down there, that are yet to be searched.”
The spokesman said it was possible the team split during the incident, and the miner they found would have been trying to reach the same exit as two others who were able to escape.
He added that “The remaining miners, we still believe, are located the other side of the blockage in the lower shaft.
“It’s a very delicate, sensitive operation. We’ve got to consider all the options. We do not want to make the situation and the environment any worse.
“We need to make sure that what we do is structurally safe.”
He said the teams were pumping up water, excavating the blockages and shoring up the tunnels.
“It is slow and it is steady, but as we’re aware with previous incidents, these incidents take time,” he said.
He explained the water levels are receding and rescuers are continuing to pump water away to make the operation easier.
“Everyone is working very hard, we just need a little bit of luck,” he added.
Neath MP Peter Hain said news of the death represented a tragedy not just for the local area but for the whole of the south Wales mining community.
He said that the families of the four men must be going through their own hell and need everyone’s support at this time.
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