This week's Newsmaker: Allen Martin

Throughout the night and into the morning,
teams of rescuers worked the tunnels,
but all the miners were dead.

Allen Martin

A Very Painful Week

This item was aired on the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's
evening news program "The National – Almanac"
10 May 1996

PETER MANSBRIDGE: This week's Newsmaker has had a very painful week. But then, for the past four years, pain and anger have been constant companions for Allen Martin. He lost his brother, Glen, in Nova Scotia's Westray mine disaster. Four years ago today, hope was still alive for the 26 men trapped underground.

[Inidentified voice] (File footage): The frantic search for the miners never stopped. Throughout the night and into the morning, teams of rescuers worked the tunnels.

MANSBRIDGE: But the men were dead, and their families began an anguished search for answers. A year ago, Allen Martin was on this program, outraged by the staying of charges against two mine managers.

ALLEN MARTIN (File footage): I'm never going to give up. I'll be here until the last breath.

MANSBRIDGE: Then the inquiry began, and Martin has been there nearly every day. Many families say this was the hardest week yet at the inquiry: hearing a top mine inspector deny responsibility.

ALBERT MCLEAN ( Former Westray mine inspector): And what they did on Tuesday, I wasn't there. I can't tell you that. I don't know what's taking place on the days that I'm not there.

MANSBRIDGE: Last night, on the fourth anniversary of the explosion, a ceremony for the dead. Allen Martin was there, too.

MARTIN: First thought every day, last thought every day, is Westray, Glen. And hopefully, somehow, we can make a difference, so that nobody else goes through this kind of damn foolishness.

MANSBRIDGE: This monument was built above the scene of the disaster. It's the only gravesite there is for Martin's brother, Glen. His body was among those never recovered. This week's Newsmaker: Allen Martin.

Go To:   Westray Scrapbook Fifty clippings about the Westray coal mine disaster
Go to:   Main Westray Coal Mine Disaster page
Go to:   Westray Public Inquiry online transcript of testimony
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