1951 Explosion at Easington Colliery, County Durham

1951 Explosion at Easington Colliery, County Durham

The explosion happened underground at 4.35 a.m. on Tuesday, 29th May.

At 4.20am the picks of the coal cutting machine cutter, which was working in the Duck Bill district of the Five Quarter seam, struck pyrites causing sparks which ignited firedamp (gas) causing an explosion which brought down 120 yards of roof and entombed 81 men.

The explosion took place 900 feet below ground. 38 men were coming to the end of their shift and were to be replaced by 43 men who were working the fore-shift. The cause of the explosion was the ignition of firedamp triggered by the picks of a coal cutting machine, operating on a retreating longwall face, when they struck pyrites. The explosion spread through 16,000 yards of roadway and caused the deaths of 81 persons. Two persons died in the ensuing rescue operations.

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