Death under the black mountain: the Aberfan disaster
Fifty years ago, a spoil tip collapsed onto the Welsh village of Aberfan, killing 116 children and 28 adults. Steve Humphries shares the memories of that tragic day he collected from survivors, rescuers and bereaved parents
At about 9.15am on Friday 21 October 1966, spoil tip No 7 – one of seven slag heaps that loomed like a mountain range high above the south Wales village of Aberfan – started to move. Then, almost in the blink of an eye, the entire edifice was transformed into a 30-feet-high tsunami of sludge that slid downhill at over 80mph. Seconds later, a wave consisting of half a million tonnes of liquefied coal waste crashed into Aberfan. The wave swept across a canal and over an embankment before bearing down on the village primary school.