• Short Summary

    MOTHERS ARE WAITING ALMOST HOPELESSLY IN THE STREETS OF ABERFAN, A WELSH MINING VILLAGE, TONIGHT (FRIDAY) AS THEIR MENFOLK JOIN WITH THOUSANDS OF VOLUNTEERS IN THE SEARCH FOR MORE THAN A HUNDRED CHILDREN BURIED IN THEIR SCHOOL ROOMS BENEATH AN AVALANCHE OF MUD.

  • Description

    MOTHERS ARE WAITING ALMOST HOPELESSLY IN THE STREETS OF ABERFAN, A WELSH MINING VILLAGE, TONIGHT (FRIDAY) AS THEIR MENFOLK JOIN WITH THOUSANDS OF VOLUNTEERS IN THE SEARCH FOR MORE THAN A HUNDRED CHILDREN BURIED IN THEIR SCHOOL ROOMS BENEATH AN AVALANCHE OF MUD. OF 160 CHILDREN IN THE SCHOOL ABOUT 59 HAVE BEEN FOUND. A FEW WERE STILL ALIVE.

    THE CHILDREN WERE ENTOMBED WHEN A SLAG HEAP PERCHED ON THE MOUNTAINSIDE SLID DOWN INTO THE VILLAGE BELOW. HEAVY RAIN HAD TURNED THE SLAG, A MIXTURE OF WASTE FROM THE COAL MINES, INTO OFF ITS FOUNDATIONS SAND CARRYING IT 150 YARDS. THEN IT HIT THE SCHOOL WHERE CLASSES WERE JUST BEGINNING AT ABOUT NINE O'CLOCK THIS MORNING.

    SOME CHILDREN HAD NOT ARRIVED AT THE SCHOOL AND OTHERS MANAGED TO ESCAPE THE RIVER OF MUD THAT SWEPT DOWN ON THEM. AMONG REPORTS COMING FROM THE VILLAGE IS ONE OF A TEACHER WHO HAD APPARENTLY THROWN HIMSELF OVER SOME OF HIS CHILDREN TO SHIELD THEM FROM THE CRUMBLING WALLS OF THE CLASSROOM. THEY WERE ALIVE BUT HE WAS DEAD.

    AT FIRST PEOPLE SCRABBLED WITH THEIR HANDS TO TRY TO CLEAR A WAY THROUGH THE MUD AND RUBBLE. LATER ORGANISED BANDS OF DIGGERS WORKED MORE METHODICALLY AND EVENTUALLY LARGE LORRIES AND MACHINERY WERE BROUGHT IN TO HELP. THERE WAS CONSTANT DANGER THAT THE ACTIVITY WOULD SET OF FURTHER LANDSLIDES OR CAUSE PRECARIOUSLY BALANCED RUBBLE TO TOPPLE ON TOP OF THE RESCUERS.

    THE TRUCKS AND HEAVY DIGGING MACHINERY WERE BROUGHT IN FROM ALL OVER THE AREA. OTHER VOLUNTEERS INCLUDED POLICE FIREMEN AND GANGS OF MINERS WHO HAD STOPPED WORK TO COME TO THE SCENE. BUCKET CHAINS WERE FORMED TO REMOVE THE RUBBLE AND MUD AS RESCUERS DUG THEIR WAY DOWN INTO THE TWISTED GIRDERS AND WALLS OF THE SCHOOL.

    THEY FOUND SOME OF THE CHILDREN BODIES HUDDLED TOGETHER IN SMALL GROUPS, SOME STILL PATHETICALLY HOLDING HANDS.

    TEACHERS WHO MANAGE TO ESCAPE OR WHO HAVE BEEN FOUND ALIVE ARE BEING USED TO HELP IDENTIFY THE BODIES AT A RESCUE SET UP IN THE VILLAGE. THERE IS LITTLE HOPE THAT ANY MORE WILL BE FOUND ALIVE ALTHOUGH ONE GIRL WAS FOUND ALIVE TWELVE HOURS AFTER THE TRAGEDY STARTED. NEAR THE SCHOOL A NUMBER OF HOUSE WERE ALSO COVERED BY THE AVALANCHE, THEY APPEAR TO HAVE CAUGHT FIRE AND THE SMOKED IS DALLYING UP THROUGH THE RUBBLE AS RESCUERS TRY TO GET TO THEM. MANY OF THE RESCUERS HAVE RELATIVES BURIED BENEATH THE MUD AND THEIR VOICES ARE FLAT AND EXPRESSIONLESS AS THEY TELL WHO THEY ARE LOOKING FOR.

    THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR WALES, MR GEORGE THOMAS, TOURED THE SCENE THIS AFTERNOON. HE COMMENTED GRIMLY "A WHOLE GENERATION HAS BEEN WIPED OUT".

    THE QUEEN AND THE PRINCE OF WALES, PRINCE CHARLES, HAVE SENT MESSAGES OF SYMPATHY TO THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE DISASTER. THE PRIME MINISTER, MR HAROLD WILSON, IS FLYING TO THE SCENE TONIGHT AND THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH HAS SAID HE WILL GO THERE TOMORROW.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAAW6ZFFM4TTTN5KKXZWHST0EWB
    Media URN:
    VLVAAW6ZFFM4TTTN5KKXZWHST0EWB
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    21/10/1966
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:05:38:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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