WARSAW, Poland ( Associated Press) – A powerful underground earthquake and discharge of methane gas hit a second coal mine in southern Poland on Saturday, forcing dozens of workers to flee the mine and leaving authorities unable to contact 10 other miners. Abandoned, officials said.
The accident happened 900 meters (2,950 ft) underground at 3:40 a.m. Saturday at the Borinia-Zofiovka mine. It was the second colliery accident in just four days in the coal mining area around the town of Jastrzebi-Zdrój, near the Czech border.
Five miners were killed, seven miners and rescue workers went missing and dozens more were injured in repeated methane explosions at the nearby Paniowec mine since Wednesday. The search for missing people in Pniowec was halted on Friday, some of whom were in critical condition, after new blasts late Thursday injured seven rescuers.
Both mines are operated by the Jastrzebska Spolka Veglova, or JSW, company.
The company said 52 workers at the Borinia-Zofiovka mine were in the earthquake zone on Saturday and 42 of them were able to leave the shaft on their own without any injuries. A rescue operation was launched for the 10 missing miners.
The JSW company said that as of Saturday afternoon, rescuers were 600 meters (yards) away from the site of the quake and were slowly moving where they were expected to be missing. But it added that high levels of methane in the area could pose a threat and that rescuers need to exercise caution.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Twitter that it was “devastating news again” from the mining sector and added that his prayers are with the missing and their relatives.
Poland depends on its own coal and coal imports for about 70% of its energy needs, drawing criticism from the European Union and environmental groups that are concerned about meeting CO2 emissions and climate change targets. Most of the Polish coal mines are in the Southern Silesia region.
The Polish government is reducing its use of coal and recently announced that it would end coal imports from Russia by May, Poland’s campaign to reduce dependence on Russian energy in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. is part of.
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