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The Aberfan disaster was the catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip at around 9.15 am on 21 October 1966. The tip having been created on a mountain slope, heavy rains created a build up until the gravity was enough to make the waste slide down to the village, the resulting slurry killing 116 children and 28 adults as it engulfed the Pantglas Junior School and other buildings.
Afterwards, investigations resulted in placing blame on the National Coal Board, which oversaw the then-nationalised coal mining, along with other employees.
The sociologist Barry Turner, in a 1976 study, identified several errors that led to the Aberfan disaster. These included years of rigid and unrealistic disregard for the importance of the safety of the above-ground tips (as opposed to dangers within the mines); a flawed decision-making process which ignored or minimised the likelihood and the scale of the emergent danger; a dismissive attitude toward the complaints from Aberfan residents, discounting the validity of their concerns;[ ](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberfan_disaster#cite_note-FOOTNOTETurner1976385,_393-109)and an incomplete and inadequate response to conditions which caused those complaints.
During the rescue, the shock and grief of parents and villagers was exacerbated by insensitive behaviour from the media—one rescue worker recalled hearing a press photographer asking a child to cry for her dead friends because it would make a good picture.[ ](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberfan_disaster#cite_note-FOOTNOTEWatkins198614-112)The response of the general public in donating to the memorial fund, together with over 50,000 letters of condolence that accompanied many of the donations, helped many residents come to terms with the disaster. One bereaved mother said “People all over the world felt for us. We knew that with their letters and the contributions they sent … They helped us build a better Aberfan.”
As for the OP, this picture depicting the rescue of Susan Maybank (who later married a Mr. Robertson) was taken by Mel Parry, local photographer, the day of the disaster and published the followind day in the South Wales Echo. This has been described by the BBC as “[what became the iconic image of the tragedy]”. As well as appearing on the front page of the *South Wales Echo*, it was [used by news media around the world](https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/story-behind-haunting-photo-captured-9046640).
The source for this article was [this Wikipedia article](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberfan_disaster).