Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Inquiry told Ayrshire mine collapsed hours before death

Alison Hume
Ms Hume fell down the shaft in July 2008 as she made her way home

A fatal accident inquiry into the death of a woman who fell down a mine shaft has heard it collapsed just hours before the tragedy.

Alison Hume, 44, died as she was being pulled free from the hole in Galston in July 2008.

She had taken a shortcut home and dropped almost 40ft into the partially concealed hole.

Ian Wilson, from the Coal Authority, said the shaft had been filled right up to the surface in the 1920s.

The senior manager told the inquiry it had partially collapsed less than 24 hours before Ms Hume fell in.

He said officials would have fenced off the mine shaft then filled it in if they had known it had given way.

Ms Hume, who worked with the Renfrewshire legal firm McCusker McElroy and Co, was discovered by her daughter and eventually freed by mountain rescue experts.

She died after suffering a heart attack just as she was brought to the surface.

The inquiry has previously heard that she lay for six hours at the bottom of the hole because health and safety rules prevented firefighters from rescuing her.

The hearing, being held at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court, continues.

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