At least 10 missing after second accident at Polish coal mine

At least 10 missing after second accident at Polish coal mine

| Saturday 23 April 2022

Ten miners were missing on Saturday after a second coal mine accident in just days in Poland, which is heavily dependent on the fossil fuel.

"Rescuers are without contact with 10 people," at the mine in Zofiowka, the JSW company said in a statement.

A tremor shook the mine at 3:40 am (0140 GMT), sparking a methane leak, the company said.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called news of the accident was "devastating".

Forty-two of the 52 miners underground when the tremor struck managed to make it to the surface, the company said.

Twelve rescue teams were trying to reach the spot where the missing miners were thought to be, 2,300-2,500 metres away, the company said.

In 2018, five miners were killed in an earthquake that struck the same mine.

JSW is also the owner of a mine in Pniowek some 230 kilometres (140 miles) south, where an accident on Wednesday killed five, including a rescuer, and left seven missing.

An initial explosion occurred shortly after midnight on Wednesday at a depth of 1,000 metres.

A second shook the site while rescue workers were helping the victims of the first.

The search for the seven people missing was called off on Friday after a third blast made conditions in the pit too dangerous, JSW said.

Analysis of the situation "has forced us to abandon the rescue operation undertaken to evacuate the seven miners" still trapped, JSW company chief Tomasz Cudny told reporters on Friday, after a blast ripped through the pit, injuring 10, as rescuers were trying to install a new ventilation duct.

"It's a very tough decision," Cudny said.

"It would be irresponsible to send rescuers into so dangerous an area," Cudny said.

Poland, which relies on coal for some 70 percent of its power, has faced several other mining accidents in recent years.

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