To be classified as a disaster, an accident or explosion at a coal mine had to claim at least ten lives. Anxious onlookers are seen here, waiting in hope, in this bleak and sombre newsreel footage of the initial aftermath of the Haig pit gas explosion, on Thursday 29th January 1931. This type of gas is sometimes referred to as firedamp; this was one of many disasters and smaller accidents that the Whitehaven coal field had suffered over the years. It was eventually discovered that 27 people had lost their lives and 13 others were injured.
The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.