The Crown season 3: Could Aberfan have been prevented amid scenes in Netflix drama?

The Crown returned with its third season on Netflix on Sunday, November 17, examining a number of contemporary events that took place between the period of 1964 and 1977. This included the Aberfan disaster of 1966, which is covered in the third episode of the series.

The Aberfan disaster was a horrendous tragedy which occurred in the Welsh mining village in 1966.

This is the focus of the third episode of The Crown season three as it addresses what happened, as well as Queen Elizabeth II’s (played by Olivia Colman) and Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s (Jason Watkins) responses to it.

The real event happened on October 21, 1966, when a colliery waste tip slid down a mountain and engulfed a number of buildings.

Occurring at around 9:15am, one of the major buildings affected was Pantglas Junior School and resulted in a major loss of life.

During the tragedy, 144 people were killed, which included 116 children and 28 adults.

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These moments in The Crown reference the conclusions of a tribunal from the real tragedy, which opened one week after the tragedy on November 2, 1966.

The 76-day tribunal concluded that what happened should have been prevented as there were a number of warning signs.

The report’s introduction reads: “As we shall hereafter seek to make clear, our strong and unanimous view is that the Aberfan disaster could and should have been prevented.”

This continued: “The Report which follows tells not of wickedness but of ignorance, ineptitude and a failure in communications.

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“Ignorance on the part of those charged at all levels with the siting, control and daily management of tips; bungling ineptitude on the part of those who had the duty of supervising and directing them; and failure on the part of those having knowledge of the factors which affect tip safety to communicate that knowledge and to see that it was applied.”

The National Coal Board was concluded to be primarily responsible for what happened and the total absence of tipping policy was the basic cause of the disaster. also spoke to author Iain McLean about the preventability of what happened.

McLean wrote a book on the disaster with Martin Johnes called Aberfan: Government and Disasters.

He said: “The tragedy was avoidable and should have been avoided. There were decades of warning signals.

“The tips had slipped twice before (which the coal Board attempted to deny at the tribunal).”

The Crown season 3 is available to stream on Netflix.


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