THE manager of a coalmine where four men died after it flooded has appeared in court to face gross negligence charges.
Charles Breslin, Philip Hill, Garry Jenkins and David Powell all perished at the Gleision mine, near Pontardawe in South Wales, in 2011.
Pit boss Malcolm Fyfield, 57, managed to escape, but was later charged with four counts of gross negligence manslaughter.
MNS Mining Limited, which owned the mine, was also summonsed to face four charges of corporate manslaughter.
Two directors - named in court as Maria Seage and Gerald Ward - appeared on behalf of the company.
A major rescue operation was launched at the small hillside mine following its sudden collapse on September 15 2011.
Fyfield was injured in the incident, but escaped through an old mine shaft.
Two other miners, including Mr Powell’s son, escaped and helped raise the alarm.
Coming just weeks after the rescue of trapped Chilean miners, at the time there had been genuine hope that the four men would be found alive.
Their distraught families - along with an entire country - waited with bated breath for good news.
But as the hours went on, the trapped miners’ bodies were discovered one by one.
In the aftermath of the incident, a charity fund was launched for the victims’ families - with donations topping £1 million.