Poland’s death toll in mine accidents rises to 12; 11 missing

WARSAW, Poland ( Associated Press) – The death toll in two coal mine accidents in southern Poland last week has risen to 12, when bodies of two missing miners were found in one mine and another worker died at a different mine, officials said. monday.

The discovery of two bodies means that at least six miners were killed during Saturday’s earthquake and discharge of methane gas at the Boryania-Zofiovka mine. Rescuers are still searching for four other missing miners.

In addition, a miner injured by methane gas explosions at the Paniowec mine on Wednesday died in hospital on Sunday, said the Jastrzebska Spolka Weglowa (JSW) company, which operates both mines in Poland’s southern Jastrzeby-Zdrój region, close to the Czech border. operates.

His death has brought the death toll to six from repeated explosions at the Paniovec mine. The search for seven Paniowec miners still missing was suspended after more methane explosions on Thursday injured 10 rescuers. For security reasons, the teams are building two concrete partitions to seal the blast area from the rest of the mines.

In addition to the victims, dozens of miners were injured, many of whom were hospitalized with burns.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morwiecki said it was a “dark week” for the country’s coal industry, which employed about 80,000 miners, and added that the families of the victims would receive state support. They spoke while visiting the Central Mining Rescue Station in Bytom, southern Poland.

Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the accidents, and Morawiecki said experts will investigate the conditions and procedures of both mines. Most of the Polish coal mines are in the Southern Silesia region and many have a high presence of methane in the rock.

About 70% of Poland’s energy comes from coal, a proportion that has been sharply criticized by the European Union and environmental groups concerned about meeting CO2 emissions and climate change targets.

Poland is trying to reduce its use of coal. Moravicki recently said that Poland has stopped coal imports from Russia and its ally Belarus in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but that Poland has been reducing its reliance on Russian energy sources for years.

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