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Trial date for death-mine manager

A pit boss who survived a horrific underground flood in which four colleagues died will stand trial next year after denying their manslaughter.

Malcolm Fyfield, 57, was manager of the Gleision mine, in the Swansea Valley, when disaster struck in September 2011.

Philip Hill, 44, Charles Breslin, 62, David Powell, 50, and Garry Jenkins, 39, all died when they were engulfed in a half-a-million-gallon torrent of water.

Fyfield, who was underground at the time but managed to crawl to safety, was taken to hospital and spent up to a week in intensive care recovering.

He appeared at Swansea Crown Court today looking frail and tired and denied four separate charges of gross negligence manslaughter.

A legal representative for MNS Mining Limited, which owned the drift mine at the time of the disaster, also denied four counts of corporate manslaughter.

Elwen Evans QC, for Fyfield, tried unsuccessfully to shift a trial date for the case by three weeks to a period after next Easter.

But judge Justice Wyn Williams reaffirmed the provisional date previously set for March 24 for a trial which is expected to last eight weeks.

Fyfield was released on conditional bail until a progress hearing to be fixed next year.

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