§ Mr. D. Griffiths
(by Private Notice) asked the Paymaster-General whether he will make a statement about the cage accident which occurred at Brookhouse Colliery, near Sheffield, on 4th March, when 47 men were involved.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Power (Sir Ian Horobin)
This accident occurred at 6.25 a.m. on Tuesday, 4th March, when an ascending cage was overwound and the descending cage landed heavily at the bottom of the shaft. Thirty men are in hospital, of whom 27 have fractures to the leg. Her Majesty's inspectors are now carrying out extensive tests to establish the cause of the accident and to ensure that the control gear is working effectively before normal operations in the shaft are resumed.
I am sure that the House will wish to join with me in wishing the injured men a speedy recovery.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I am grateful to you, Sir, for allowing this Question and creating what possibly may be a precedent, because I understand that hitherto an accident had to involve fatalities before one could ask a Private Notice Question about it. I thank the Minister for his reply and wish to associate myself and hon. Members on both sides of the House with the sympathy that he expressed for the men who are suffer 1171 Bad as it is, the accident could have been much more serious. While wishing the men a speedy recovery, may I ask the Minister whether he will ensure that there will be exhaustive investigations to discover exactly what caused this tragedy?
§ Sir I. Horobin
Yes, Sir. A number of possible causes present themselves: some could be due to personal failure, others to mechanical or electrical failure. All are being urgently considered, but I have not yet received an interim report.