BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007, 11:15 GMT
Tribute to mine disaster victims
Jimmy Marshall
Jimmy Marshall's father was the oldest victim of the blast
A village is marking the 50th anniversary of one of the worst mining disasters in Scottish history.

Seventeen men died in the explosion at the Kames Colliery, Muirkirk, Ayrshire, on the evening of 19 November 1957.

Jimmy Marshall, 93, a supervisor on the night of the explosion, lost his father in the accident.

He said: "Nobody ever though it would happened, it was supposed to be a safe pit, it was supposed to be gas free... it was beyond our reasoning."

The blast, thought to have been caused by a naked flame igniting gases in the atmosphere, also injured 12 of the 169 men who were working on the pit

Law change

Kames had been considered a safe mine and was deemed so safe that smoking underground was allowed.

Mr Marshall said: "I got a phone message, there'd been an explosion. I made my way to the bottom as quickly as possible.

"I was overcome."

The miner was saved by a pocket of air but his father, aged 69, was the oldest victim of the disaster.

Mr Marshall added: "By the time we got there they were all dead, gassed."

The law was later changed to prevent naked lights being taken into mines.

A special memorial service has been held at Muirkirk Parish Church.

Local primary schools will remember the disaster by holding a memorial concert on Monday.

Former miner recounts the day of the disaster

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific