AN INVESTIGATION was launched yesterday following the death of a miner in an underground accident in the North Yorkshire coalfield.

Anthony Poulton, who was 40 and from Sheffield, died after being struck by rock which fell from the roof of a tunnel he was helping to excavate at Stillingfleet Mine, near Selby.

The incident happened at about 6pm on Tuesday as Mr Poulton was working as part of a four-man tunnelling team half-a-mile below ground.

He suffered severe injuries after being trapped by the rock fall and was given medical attention before losing consciousness. He was pronounced dead at York District Hospital.

A spokesman for the mine's owner, UK Coal, said steel girders and rock bolts were being used to support the tunnel, which was more than three miles from the access shafts.

"It is the first fatality at a UK Coal mine for more than four years," he said.

"It is tragic and our sympathies go out to Mr Poulton's family.