Four missing Welsh miners found dead
LONDON (Reuters) - The bodies of all four miners missing after a flash flood in a south Wales coal mine have been found, emergency services said on Friday.
The mood over the small Swansea Valley community turned increasingly gloomy during the past two days as one-by-one the bodies were discovered.
Prime Minister David Cameron described the situation, after the third body was found, as "desperately, desperately sad."
"The anguish of the families obviously is intense worrying about their loved ones, and the news is not good at all, and there's going to be desperate sorrow for those families and those communities as they come to terms with the loss," he said in clip shown on Sky News.
The men became trapped at the small private Gleision Colliery on Thursday morning after a wall to an old working failed, sending a flood of water along the main 250-metre route into the mine.
Cameron said everything that could have been done had been done by the dozens of rescue workers involved.
"Unfortunately, the conclusion that we have is the one that none of us want," Chief Constable for South Wales police Peter Vaughan told reporters.
A series of investigations will now be held, including a health and safety inquiry.
The death of the men, aged between 39 and 62, was described by the media as one of the worst mining accidents in Britain for many years.
First Minister for Wales Carwyn Jones said: "We thought in south Wales the days of mining accidents were behind us but we were wrong."
Richard Smith, chief fire officer for Mid and West Wales, who described the conditions as some of the worst his men had worked in, said it was too early to say whether any of the miners had stood a chance of surviving.
The first body was recovered from the bottom of a shaft near the exit, while the other three were retrieved nearby where they had been working.
Emergency services were alerted after three other miners managed to escape following the incident on Thursday, but they were hampered by a blockage preventing their progress to the main shaft at the bottom of the mine.
They then had to search a myriad of tunnels and offshoots.
Gleision Colliery is under a steep hillside above the banks of the river Tawe.
It is a drift mine, a relatively low-cost form of underground mining, when tunnels -- drifts -- are dug horizontally into rock, rather than directly downwards.
Drift mines were known for being dangerous in the past, with frequent accidents as tunnels caved in, and they remain risky.
(Additional reporting by Tim Castle and Clara Ferreira Marques; Editing by Keith Weir)
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