Disaster at Hapton Valley:
This section is a short abstract from Horace Lister’s upcoming book
recording his career as a distinguished mining engineer.
The Disaster: Details Below:
STATEMENT OF H. LISTER to the disaster inquiry.......
Series of Hapton Valley events
after 7-45 am March 22, 1962
Travelled inbye to No. 2 along with K. Clarkson (shotfirer) on No. 2, Visited stubbing half way up No. 2 Main Gate. No coal coming due to face scraper being overloaded, so I speeded up to get onto face.
Arrived at face approximately 20 minutes after setting off from No. 2 Tandem. Went straight on the face leaving the shotfirer in the heading, the face scraper was stopped due to being overloaded. I went up the face slowly telling each collier to empty the pans; on reaching the top of face the chain was just being tensioned.
(¼ hour) after completion the face scraper was run round for approximately 7/8 th’s of a revolution of the face, in order to change a badly bent flight. When this was changed the pans were overloaded again. Men at top end (S.Bullen, Deputy) (J. Halstead, Shotfirer) and Jimmy Allen, so I proceeded back down the face telling them to empty their pans of coal again. En route I passed K. Clarkson the shotfirer, who travelled in with me (approx. 50 yards from top end).
When I reached 20 - 25 yards from Main Gate, the sequence of events were as follows: there was a complete reversal of ventilation, increasing from cold air to red hot air. I shouted up the face . The 5 bottom colliers came struggling off with me but there was no decent track through to travel properly visibility was down to nil and the wave blew us or assisted our travel.
Somewhat 20/30 of my breaths were of smoke and fumes and then ventilation resumed its normal flow but was still dust laden. I went straight to telephone and shut all power off.
The telephone was apparently out of order, so I left one man there trying to get a message through to surface and proceeded down to No. 2 Tandem Belt to that phone - also out of order.
The ventilation had already started clearing so I sent 2 men on No. 5 to get all men out and into intake and 2 electricians to shut power off on there (Noel Marsden) and got 4 men to get stretchers and first aid materials off No. 5 and up No. 2, also men to surrounding first aid tubes.
I then proceeded outbye to bottom of new drift and made arrangements to get the 4 or 5 injured men up immediately on the bogies.
I went up and passed safety, rescue, Mr. Rawstron and Mr. Walker who told me to proceed to surface as rescue would take over.