Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Emergency In Poland

Just now, from Reuters:

...A gas explosion killed at least eight miners and trapped around 15 others underground in a deep coal mine in southern Poland on Tuesday, officials said.

A major rescue effort was under way in the town of Ruda Slaska, around 300 km (190 miles) southwest of the capital, Warsaw.

A spokesman for the state-run Polish Coal Company said it was impossible to say whether rescuers would be able to reach the rest of the men who were trapped underground after a large explosion, probably caused by methane, at around 4:30 p.m. (1530 GMT).

"Four bodies have already been recovered and we have at least another four to bring out from under the rubble," coal company spokesman Zbigniew Madej told Reuters. "We fear the worst for the others," he added.

Officials said all the miners were equipped with personal breathing apparatus and were trained to cope with accidents, but even with this training it was not clear how long they could hold out without help from outside.

The temperature in the deep mine shaft was around 40 degrees Celsius, he said. "The conditions down there are extreme," Madej said. "It is hell."...

...The mine...lies at the heart of Silesia's industrial belt and has seen several disasters in the past...

...Families of the trapped miners gathered at the mine as news of the blast spread. Officials read out all names of the trapped people to the crowd. "Me and my son we are waiting for my husband," said Barbara Luczakiewicz, the wife of one of the trapped men. "We hope he will get out of there. I am very scared but I haven't lost hope."...


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