close
close

After Polish coal mine accident, 2 miners are missing, 15 are injured and dozens are still being rescued

After Polish coal mine accident, 2 miners are missing, 15 are injured and dozens are still being rescued

According to officials, two Polish miners remain missing and at least 15 were injured after a strong earthquake struck the Rydultowy coal mine.

WARSAW, Poland — Two Polish miners are missing and at least 15 were injured after a powerful earthquake struck the Rydultowy coal mine about 4,000 feet underground on Thursday, officials said, while rescue workers struggled to reach about two dozen others.

The cause of the quake and its immediate effects within the mine were not immediately clear.

“Some of these people are being brought to the surface, some have already been brought up and some have not yet been reached by rescue workers,” said Polish Coal Mining Group spokeswoman Aleksandra Wysocka-Siembiga.

She later said: “One disturbing piece of information is that we have no contact with two miners at the moment,” but all others have been identified.

Wysocka-Siembiga said the accident occurred at 8:16 a.m. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center recorded a magnitude 3.1 earthquake in southern Poland near the Rydultowy mine at that time.

According to official information, 68 miners were in the area at the time. 41 of them were brought to the surface, 15 of whom had to be taken to hospital. Rescue planes and ten emergency teams were involved in the rescue operation.

Łukasz Pach, head of the emergency services in Katowice, the mining region’s largest city, said the condition of the miners in hospital was stable.

In coal mines, massive rock impacts can cause rock falls or sudden rock ejections into passages and tunnels due to stress build-up in the rock, which can be dangerous for miners in the area.

There have been several fatal accidents at the Polish coal mining company this year.

In May, three miners died in a collapse at the Myslowice-Wesola mine, and in April another miner died in the same mine.

Two miners were killed in two separate accidents at the Rydultowy mine in 2019 and 2020.

The Rydultowy mine, opened in 1792, currently employs about 2,000 miners.

Coal mining is considered dangerous in Poland. In some coal mines there is a risk of methane gas explosions or collapses. In older mines, people dig deep into the earth in search of coal, which increases the dangers of the work. The coal industry is one of Poland’s most important employers and provides around 75,000 jobs.

Last year, 15 miners lost their lives in accidents.