• Overground/underground - a caving archaeology project in the Yorkshire Dales

    1st June 2-4pm at Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.

    Click here for more

UK mine near miss

braveduck

Active member
Saw this post on Reddit.
TLDR . Explorer fell through false floor and it was scary
Wondered if anybody knows any more about this. As the author talks about lots of members of cave rescue and HART teams
I will be interested on other peoples take on this . Neck deep water supported on a wooden floor over a huge void ,without it having leaked away almost seems improbable to me !
 

royfellows

Well-known member
No, I released a load of water into a blocked sump when I was pushing Hodsons at Nenthead years ago. It was actually a solar covered in calcified debris and it all went - actually down into the North Flats. (Middlecleaugh North vein above Caplecleugh)
Impossible for me to guess where the incident took place, but it reads wrong anyway. if there was a dry chamber below, and the water all eventually drained down into it, it could not have been the Deep Adit, thats it. But he describes it thus.
 

georgenorth

Active member
I will be interested on other peoples take on this . Neck deep water supported on a wooden floor over a huge void ,without it having leaked away almost seems improbable to me !
There’s some good examples of this on the middle level of the Paddy End workings at Coniston. My understanding is that the old men lined the false floors with clay so that the water could be channeled out to the surface.
 

tamarmole

Active member
You're right Chris; I was there.

In over quarter of a century of mine exploration this is a close as I have come to a catastrophe.

As the initial post notes the incident involved the collapse of a false floor. The false floor in question was hidden under waist deep water laying over an unsuspected underhand stope. What timbering there had been had rotted out long ago, the false floor consisting of re-cemented crap varying in width from six to twelve inches. The water hadn't drained away due to the large build up of ochre.

At the time of the incident I was at the front of the group on the way out. All I could hear was a rush and a roar which seemed to go on forever. At this point I was convinced that a stope had collapsed from above (not being aware of the hidden underhand stope). I did a brief headcount and found two people missing. My immediate thoughts were that we had two probable fatalities. Heading back I found the level draining rapidly and through a whirlpool in the floor. Much to my relief the one of my chums was on the far side of the hole. I soon learned the second man had been swallowed by the collapse. Fortunately by this time the flood had started to abate and we could see a light about twenty feet below. As the water dropped further we were able to establish verbal communication and learnt that he was largely intact although wet and cold.

After a brief conference we sent some of the guys out to pick up kit we had left at the mine entrance. Meanwhile myself and my chum decided to attempt a self rescue before initiating a full call out. Given that the man at the bottom was cold, wet and perched in a very loose stope we felt that time was of the essence. We salvaged a section of steel scaffold ladder from deeper in the mine. Unfortunately the ladder was only fifteen feet long. We decided to chain belay belts and cows tails together and attach them to the ladder. This we lowered down the hole. The trapped man was able to reach the bottom rung and managed to haul himself to the top of the ladder and up the rope of belay belts to safety. We then exited, catching the other guys up at the entrance. From there it was but a short step to the pub.
 

tamarmole

Active member
Epic. I am glad it ended well.

It's highly unusual for a level with a void below to be watertight to the point of being a wade! I generally take levels like that as being among the safest.

Chris.
My thought as well. I've been along that section of passage at least a dozen times with no issues.
 

royfellows

Well-known member
The most amazing near miss I have ever heard of, and I have had a few. There must be some entity that looks after us mine explorers.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
There's a mid-section level in Odin Mine that always has thigh-deep standing water in it, roughly around the altitude of Knowlegates Sough, and I've always assumed that it had a solid floor for that reason - not least as it's the only part of the upper levels that holds water. After reading this I'm not so sure now. Glad everyone got out alive.
 

Mark

Well-known member
I was once down long rake mine (youlgreave) early 80s, (we had bought some gear of them for our mine at Ashover) I was on my own in the bottom level walking between the rails when all of a sudden I dropped through the floor, luckily I spread my arms out and fetched up with the rails under my armpits, looking down between my feet there was a 3mtr shaft in calcite opening up into a bell shaped stope, with a drop of about 80ft to a pool of deep blue water.
If I had missed the rails I would never have been seen again?
 

royfellows

Well-known member
I wont fill the thread with all mine, I believe about 8. These range from near drowning due to a near roof level watered level and floating rubish bags thrown down a shaft, a worn Stop on new rope in Knotlow Engine, a burried alive in a dig, 2 falls of about 12 feet, - I will think of some more given time.
Yes, and not a single scratch.
 

PeteHall

Moderator
Been through a false floor once. Only puddles on the floor to my memory, but no evidence it was undercut. I think as it gave, I can't have accelerated at full G, as it was about 4m down and I was unhurt, if a little shaken. Fortunately a loose length of rail with shoes still attached worked as a make-shift ladder and I was able to get back without issue.
Another time, we had a timber slip out half way up a ladder shaft, leaving two of us hanging from the single spit we'd just placed, with metalwork and timber from above jamming up and stopping inches from our heads!
Never a dull moment!
Glad everyone was OK after this latest incident!
 

Cantclimbtom

Well-known member
Wow, that's definitely several of nine lives used up in that one!

I've nothing as dramatic as that, but did once (while rushing! a lesson there already) walk straight out at a brisk pace into the middle of a junction, I unmistakeably felt something shift under my feet (but heard no noise) the floor shifted slightly and I froze. At that moment I saw there was a really obvious unmissable safety line around the the sides. I walked backwards in exact reverse tiptoe and clipped in. A very stupid act that taught me a big lesson, it could so easily have ended very differently.
 
Last edited:

BikinGlynn

Member
As chris comment it seems amazing this level was holding water but I guess even if some water was already escaping, if more was entering it would keep the passage flooded.
Fair play to everyone involved for getting out of that safely & its a good job you were all trained to the highest standard, I imagine many normal people wouldnt of reacted so well.
 

Ane

Member
Another time, we had a timber slip out half way up a ladder shaft, leaving two of us hanging from the single spit we'd just placed, with metalwork and timber from above jamming up and stopping inches from our heads!
If that's the one I'm thinking of - about 15 years ago? - then I remember talking with you shortly afterwards. Pretty sure you were still high on adrenaline (and/or shitting yourself) even days later - a very near miss 😬
 

royfellows

Well-known member
Is Heb about?
He would remember this.
Rampgill Firestone, down a shaft of about 80 feet and we reached a level with more winzes. Heb dropped one to a sollar, but it had a boulder wedged in the manway. he said he didn't like the look of it and came back up. I dropped it for a look for myself, and remarked that the boulder was fast and there was a gap I could easily get through. So there we are- Fools rush in occurs.
Anyway, I got down to another sollar with a clear manway and was giving a running commentary to Heb above. I described that there was a section of ladder still in situ and that I coul;d see a level below. I was easing through when the ladder in front started to move, I called my Sitrep up to Heb above and next thing the whole sollar I was half way through - dropped from around me. Obviously my thoughts were on the boulder above, I did say it was fast, would this take on a new meaning? Anyway, I did a hanging chageover and got out of Dodge. But Heb had to go down again for a look..
 

petejackson

New member
Levant mine many years ago - under the sea. Concreted floor - no idea what was underneath until some timbers started to appear. Retreated.

Worked with a team recovering a small wagon from a shaft above Castleton.(wagon now in Matlock museum). Returned next week to recover some rail - floor had collapsed after our recovery trip revealing that the nice dry floor was about 12 inches of deads supported on timbers above a rather deep stope. Walk slowly backwards avoiding the temptation to run and panic.

West Level is rather entertaining. Original cross rail supports in good order, but timbered floor supporting track ballast had expired. Weardale Lead had used this as a haulage route until about 1940. A certain digging team replaced some of the timber and installed a safety line.
 
Top