|A couple left a community center in Wales during a search for four men trapped in a flooded coal mine. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)|
LONDON - Rescue workers found the body of a fourth miner in a flooded coal mine in south Wales yesterday, dashing hopes that the last trapped miner would be found alive as a close-knit community was forced to confront the kind of tragedy it thought it had left long in the past.
South Wales chief constable Peter Vaughan called the outcome of the search-and-rescue operation “the one that none of us wanted,’’ because police had held out hope of finding some of the miners alive.
Officials don’t know what caused the accident at the Gleision Colliery near Swansea, in south Wales, an area once synonymous with coal mining but where the industry all but disappeared since Britain’s labor strife of the 1980s.
“This is the end that we all feared but hoped against hope wouldn’t happen,’’ said local lawmaker Peter Hain. “This has been a stab right through the heart of these communities.’’
The miners were Phillip Hill, 45, Charles Bresnan, 62, David Powell, 50, and Garry Jenkins.
Three other miners managed to escape after the accident Thursday morning. One was hospitalized and listed as critical; the two others were largely unharmed.
Prime Minister David Cameron called the mining tragedy “a desperately, desperately sad situation.’’
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said he was praying for all involved.