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    Zofiowka mine: Ten miners missing after tremor hits [UPDATE]

    “Our thoughts are with their families, with these miners. We will do everything to make these miners come back to us safe, healthy and alive, but the situation is unfortunately very difficult there,” prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.

    A tremor shook the Zofiowka coal mine in southern Poland in the early hours on Saturday, leaving ten miners missing, according to a statement by the mining conglomerate JSW, the mine owner.

    The tremor involved “an intensive outflow of methane”, JSW said.

    Twelve rescue teams have been trying to reach the missing miners.

    JSW deputy CEO Edward Pazdziorko said 52 people had been working in the affected area and 42 of them managed to pull out.

    High concentration of methane may hinder the rescue operation as the pipeline supplying fresh air to the location has been damaged, Pazdziorko warned.

    On Wednesday, four miners and one rescuer were killed after two methane explosions in the nearby Pniowek coal mine. Attempts to rescue seven miners trapped below ground have been abandoned due to further methane blasts.

    But Pazdziorko said the Zofiowka situation was different from Pniowek as the methane there had not been ignited.

    Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, called the latest report “shattering news”. 

    Announcing at a Saturday press conference in Warsaw that he would travel to Zofiowka mine later in the day Morawiecki said that “everything will be done” to save the missing miners, adding that he hoped for the success of the ongoing rescue operation.

    “Our thoughts are with their families, with these miners. We will do everything to make these miners come back to us safe, healthy and alive, but the situation is unfortunately very difficult there,” he said.

    Morawiecki also said that he had commissioned inspections in the Polish mines by specially-appointed expert teams in order “to check whether the equipment and everything there… is of the highest technical standard” and “to rule out any possible irregularities in the future.

    “Naturally, the two mines where these tragic events took place will also be checked very thoroughly ex post,” he added. 

    Morawiecki also pledged special pensions for families of the miners who suffered in the Pniowek mine accident.

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