HC Deb 20 June 1961 vol 642 cc1178-9

Mr. D. Griffiths (by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Power the latest position at Cottonwood Colliery where nine men were entombed yesterday evening.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Power (Mr. J. C. George)

At 7.30 p.m. yesterday evening there was an outburst of gas at Cottonwood Colliery, Wombwell, in Yorkshire. Nine men were involved: of these, four, unfortunately, succumbed. Of the other five who escaped alive, four were well enough to return home and the other has been detained in hospital for observation. Investigations are proceeding.

I should like to take this opportunity of expressing, on behalf of my right hon. Friend and myself, the deepest sympathy for the relatives and friends of the dead men.

Mr. Griffiths

I should like to join with the hon. Gentleman in the sentiments which he has expressed. I am sure that the whole House has the deepest sympathy with the relatives and friends of the deceased. Whilst we cannot prejudge the matter, will the hon. Gentleman's Department, at the earliest possible moment, get Her Majesty's inspectors to hold the fullest inquiry?

Mr. George

Her Majesty's inspectors were on the scene soon after the disaster and investigations are proceeding. Further steps, if any, and if necessary, will be decided upon in the light of the investigation.