The manager of a south Wales colliery where four miners drowned has been charged with four counts of manslaughter, police confirmed today.
Charles Breslin, Philip Hill, Garry Jenkins and David Powell died following a collapse at the Gleision mine near Pontardawe in 2011.
South Wales police said that after an extensive investigation pit manager Malcolm Fyfield, 57, has been charged with four counts of gross negligence manslaughter and colliery owner MNS Mining Ltd has also been summonsed to answer four counts of corporate manslaughter.
Crown Prosecution Service deputy head of special crime Malcolm McHaffie said Mr Breslin, Mr Hill, Mr Jenkins and Mr Powell lost their lives when the mine was engulfed by an "enormous inrush" of water.
He added: "It is estimated that, in around three minutes, more than half a million gallons of water entered the section of the mine in which the men were working.
"Fyfield was employed as mine manager by MNS Mining Ltd and it is alleged he caused the deaths of four miners by mining into old, flooded mine workings in breach of health and safety regulations.
"The CPS has now carefully considered all the available evidence in this case, including detailed expert evidence.
"We have concluded it is in the public interest to charge mine manager Malcolm Fyfield."
Detective Chief Inspector Dorian Lloyd, of the South Wales police's Specialist Crime Investigations Team, said: "The aim of this investigation was to establish a full understanding of the events that led to such devastating loss of life.
"Upon completion of the investigation and following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service Malcolm Fyfield has been charged.
"In addition a prosecution against the owners of the mine, MNS Mining Ltd, is proceeding."
Neath Labour MP Peter Hain welcomed the development in South Wales Police's investigation.
He said: "After such a devastating tragedy, the families and our communities have naturally been anxious to discover why and how the four local miners were killed.
"This prosecution will enable the truth to be revealed for the first time."
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