Methane explosion kills 13 in Czech mine
STONAVA - Reuters
A methane explosion killed 12 Poles and one Czech at an eastern Czech coal mine, the O.K.D. mining company said on Dec. 21, in the worst disaster of this kind in almost three decades.
The state-run firm said that a methane blast more than 800 meters underground devastated areas of the hard coal mine near the town of Karvina and the Polish border on the afternoon of Dec. 20.
“We stopped underground work immediately, evacuated miners to the surface, and rescuers arrived who inspected the whole location thoroughly,” O.K.D. spokesman Ivo Celechovsky said.
O.K.D. had previously said that 11 Poles and two Czechs died, but added later one of those thought to be Czech was in fact a Polish citizen.
The accident is the worst mining disaster in the Czech Republic since 1990, when 30 miners died in a fire at a mine near Karvina.
Polish President Andrzej Duda declared Dec. 23 a day of national mourning. A minute’s silence for the victims was being held in Czech parliament on Dec. 21.
OKD said that attempts to rescue eight miners originally reported as unaccounted for had had to be abandoned due to conditions in
The affected part of the mine was being sealed off to starve the fire of air and rescue teams would only be able to return to recover the victims at an unspecified date when conditions allowed, the company said.
According to the company a network of methane sensors deployed in the mine had not detected anything unusual prior to the blast.