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Tributes to 'well respected' miner

A miner who died when a roof collapsed in a pit has been described as a "highly-skilled and well-respected coalface worker".

Gerry Gibson, 49, died at Kellingley Colliery, North Yorkshire, on Tuesday after he was trapped in a rock fall.

Another miner, thought to be a close friend of Mr Gibson and named locally as Phil Sheldon, was rescued during a major emergency operation and suffered minor injuries.

UK Coal - the company which owns and runs the pit - said initial overnight investigations showed no obvious cause of the roof fall and the firm was, at this stage, "at a loss" to know why it happened.

The incident came just a few weeks after the flooding of the Gleision Colliery in South Wales, which claimed the lives of four miners.

UK Coal Communications director Andrew Mackintosh said a full inquiry was under way at Kellingley with the Health and Safety Executive.

Outside the mine, near Knottingley on the North and West Yorkshire border, Mr Mackintosh paid tribute to Mr Gibson, who was a married father-of-two grown-up sons from North Yorkshire.

He said: "He was highly-skilled, highly-respected. As well as all that, he was a very close friend of most of the people who worked on the same shift as him.

"It's been a huge loss. It hits an industry like coal-mining far harder, I suspect, than many industries because of that close-knit approach.

"Gerry was a family man with a wife and two children and obviously our thoughts are with them at the moment."


From Belfast Telegraph