Pit tragedy probe

AN investigation is under way into the death of a worker at the last remaining colliery in Rotherham.Emergency crews and a specialist mines and rescue team were sent at around 5pm on Monday to the site in Maltby where the man, named by colliery owners Harg

AN investigation is under way into the death of a worker at the last remaining colliery in Rotherham.

Emergency crews and a specialist mines and rescue team were sent at around 5pm on Monday to the site in Maltby where the man, named by colliery owners Hargreaves Services as Jackie Fisher, was pronounced dead.

Mr Fisher (52), who was married and from the Doncaster area, started his working life at the Yorkshire Main pit in 1972, but left in 1985 and had been working at Maltby ever since.

The incident is being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the police.

A postmortem has yet to be carried out but the death is believed to be related to an accident at work.

It is understood that production at the colliery was halted for the investigation to take place. 

A police spokesman said: “Colliery management are working alongside South Yorkshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive who are conducting a joint investigation.”

A HSE spokesperson said: “We are aware of the incident and one of our inspectors was called to the site in Maltby on Monday evening.”  

A fire service spokesman said firefighters from Maltby, Edlington and a technical rescue unit had attended the scene and worked with the ambulance service’s Hazardous Area Response Team.

“Crews were sent to work alongside the ambulance service and from what I understand the incident happened at the bottom of the mine shaft,” he said. 

NUM Union Learn project worker and former Selby union secretary Maurice Kent said: “I don’t know how to put it into words really, it’s just a really shocking and tragic day.

“During 2008 and 2009, there were four fatalities in collieries and that was just in 18 months.

“More needs to be done both with employers and employees about health and safety, to stop this sort of thing happening anymore.

“In this day and age, things like this shouldn't be going on.”

Maltby Colliery, established in 1911, was bought out by Hargreaves Services two years ago for £21.5 million, creating 500 jobs and guaranteeing production until 2025.