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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 22:06 GMT
Furnace blast victims named
Map of Port Talbot steelworks
Two steelworkers who died in the huge blast at Corus's steelworks at Port Talbot have been named.

Stephen Galsworthy, 26, from the town, died on Thursday night in the explosion, which seriously injured 13 colleagues - seven are in a critical condition.

Stephen Galsworthy
Stephen Galsworthy was killed in the blast
The family of 20-year-old Andrew Huton, who was reported missing, have been told he died in the explosion at furnace no 5 on Thursday at 1715GMT.

A series of investigations have begun into the blaze at the South Wales plant which left 13 other employees injured - seven of them critically.

Five of the injured workers are on life support machines.

The search for Mr Huton intensified after his equipment and helmet were found among the debris.

'Serious escape'

Emergency services declared the scene a major incident after three blasts at the no 5 furnace rocked the plant shortly after 1700GMT on Thursday.

The explosions erupted at the plant, splitting the enormous blast furnace, causing a "serious escape" of molten iron at which point workers were thrown and badly injured by huge flames.

It is still unclear what caused this to happen.
Andrew Hutin: Body found by rescuers
Andrew Hutin: Body found by rescuers

Hamish Laing, clinical director of Morriston Hospital - home to one of the UK's leading burns units - said several of the workers would undergo state-of-the-art surgery for extensive burns and lung injuries.

"In this sort of event where you have an explosion there's obviously burns from the flames but patients are often thrown considerable distances and they've suffered broken bones, dislocated shoulders and injuries to the lungs, affected by the blast and hot gases," he added.

Meanwhile, Corus chiefs said the site had been made safe and that all shifts in all parts of the site were going ahead as normal.

Safety investigators

Firefighters - who struggled to bring under control tonnes of burning molten steel - said they had feared a series of secondary fires would break out.

Health and safety investigators and emergency services are also attempting a search of the debris in order to establish the cause of the explosion.

Police emergency helpline
01656 869 499

Witnesses reported hearing at least three huge explosions.

Corus is conducting its own investigation into the incident. Spokesman John Kavanagh denied the furnace had been due to be relined and said it had been operating normally.

But it is believed the furnace was due for a partial refit as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment being carried out at the plant.

Relatives and friends of Mr Galsworthy's father David gathered at his Port Talbot home on Friday to offer their support and condolences.

Neighbours' shock

A family friend said: "He is devastated. He just wants to be close to his family. He cannot think of anything else."

Neighbours of Mr Galsworthy on the Fenbrook Close estate where he lived with his partner, Claire Robbins, spoke of their shock at his death.

When you learn that somebody so young living on your doorstep has died, it is just unbelievable

Betty Hunter,
Mr Galsworthy's neighbour
Betty Hunter, 75, said Stephen was an ideal neighbour, adding: "When we heard about the accident we prayed that nobody was badly injured.

"But when you learn that somebody so young living on your doorstep has died, it is just unbelievable."

Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy is to hold talks on the Corus blaze during a visit to Port Talbot on Friday night.

Industry's dangers

Europe Minister Peter Hain, who represents the neighbouring constituency of Neath, described the incident as "catastrophic".

Wales's First Minister Rhodri Morgan said he was "horrified" by the news, which he said "serves as a reminder of the dangers faced by the people working in heavy process industries, which for a long time have been the backbone of the Welsh economy".

In February, Corus announced it was axing 3,000 jobs in Wales - around 200 of them in Port Talbot - as it struggled against market difficulties.

The Port Talbot plant produces about three million tonnes of steel a year for the motor and other industries.

The BBC's Wyre Davies
"You can only imagine the ferocious heat"
The BBC's Robert Hall
"Its awesome power has claimed two lives"
Tony Pedder, chief executive Corus
"It is premature to comment on the cause"
BBC Wales's Rebecca John reports
"Some workers are reported to have been concerned at the furnace's condition in recent weeks"
See also:

09 Nov 01 | Wales
Steelworker killed in explosion
16 Jun 00 | Wales
Steel jobs go at Port Talbot
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