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A former south Wales pit manager has been cleared of manslaughter.
Malcolm Fyfield - who was in charge of the Gleision Colliery in the Swansea Valley when four miners died in 2011 - broke down in tears when the verdict was delivered.
Philip Hill, 44, Charles Breslin, 62, David Powell, 50 and 39-year-old Garry Jenkins all drowned when around 650,000 gallons of water swept through the Pontardawe mine after an explosion.
58-year-old Fyfield - who was close to the blast site - managed to escape along with two other men, who described the sound of the rushing water like a “jet engine”.
The men had been working to try and improve ventilation in the pit on September 15th and prosecutors said Mr Fyfield was negligent by allowing them to dig towards an area where there was underground water.
But the father – of – two claimed he carried out safety inspections the night before, which showed no water was present.
MNS Mining, the owner of the mine, was also cleared of corporate manslaughter charges.
The families of the four men were at Swansea Crown Court and said:
“We miss Garry, Philip, Charles, and David dearly.
“Not a day has passed without wishing they were still with us.
“The events of September 15 2011 will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
“Now that the trial has ended and we have heard for the first time what happened in the mine, we ask that we are given the privacy to move on with our lives; even though the men we lost will never be forgotten”.
The jury took just under two hours to deliver the not guilty verdicts.