A man fighting for his life following an accident at a South Yorkshire coal-mining pit is from Mansfield Woodhouse, it has been reported.
The 50-year-old is said to be in a critical condition and has undergone major surgery, believed to be on his abdomen, following the accident at Hatfield Colliery, Doncaster.on Saturday.
Although not officially confirmed, he has been named locally as Richard Hodgkinson of Fields Close, Mansfield Woodhouse, and it is understood that he was hit by a blast from a high-pressure hose during a day shift at the main gate section of the colliery’s HO6’s coal face.
A friend of the miner, who did not want to be named, described him as a ‘pleasant character’ who ‘puts his family first’. He said Mr Hodgkinson had left the industry but returned to help suport his family.
However, he also described his injuries as being ‘catastrophic’ but added: “He was in really good shape for his age, and I think it has stood him in good stead. It’s a miracle that he survived at all.”
Mr Hodgkinson is said to be in a critical condition with his family at his side in the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield.
The man was given immediate first aid at the scene by colleagues, and was then brought out of the mine to a waiting ambulance crew.
Once at the surface he was examined and stabilised by paramedics from the ambulance service who, along with other emergency services, had been notified immediately after the accident occurred.
A spokesman for Hargreaves Services, who operate Hatfield Colliery, said “Our colleague was taken to the Northern General Hospital, where his immediate family joined him.
“Hatfield Colliery’s nursing Sister spoke with our colleague at the hospital after his arrival. We understand he has a number of injuries and it is likely he will undergo surgery and further treatment.
“Our human resources and welfare team are in contact with our colleague’s family to offer them whatever help and support they feel they might need.”
The spokesman for the colliery described Mr Hodgkinson as being a ‘highly skilled, well-respected and experienced operator’.
Chris Kitchen, national secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), said: “He’s been caught by a high pressure hose on one of the roof supports which has sprung a leak.
“It is quite an uncommon problem and there hasn’t been one for a few years.”
The colliery has not been closed since the accident, but the area where it happened has been secured.
The Health and Safety Executive confirmed specialist mines inspectors were on site this week and the Mines Inspectorate has launched an investigation into the incident.