Doctors have confirmed the death of two miners whose bodies were found after a tremor shook the Zofiowka coal mine, in southern Poland, in the early hours on Saturday, the owner of the coal mine reported on Saturday night.
UPDATE 5:10 p.m.
The confirmation of the two deaths brings the death toll, so far, to four miners, while a further six remain missing.
Representatives of the JSW mining conglomerate, which owns the mine, said that rescuers were still looking for the six miners who are unaccounted for.
“The conditions in the endangered area are difficult,” the officials said. “High methane concentrations and high temperatures are slowing down the rescue operation.”
The tremor, accompanied by a methane discharge, hit the mine at 3:40 a.m., some 900 metres underground, forcing dozens of workers to flee the mine.
Ten miners, however, were unaccounted for.
Representatives from the JSW mining conglomerate, which owns the mine, have reported that rescuers had reached four of the 10 but none of them has shown signs of life.
“Rescuers have transported the first of the four miners found…” JSW reported in a statement posted on their website at around midnight. It also wrote that a doctor at the rescue base had confirmed the first miner’s death.
Later on Sunday morning, it confirmed the death of a second miner.
JSW added that “the rescuers are continuing work related to restoring ventilation… in order to allow for the transport of the other workers found, as well as to reach another six workers with whom contact has been lost.”
The company said 52 workers were in the area when the tremor hit and that 42 of them were able to leave the shaft on their own without injury.
JSW representatives said they would provide more information on the progress of the rescue operation on Sunday morning.
On Wednesday, four miners and one rescuer were killed after two methane explosions occurred at the nearby Pniowek coal mine, which is also owned by JSW. Attempts to rescue seven miners trapped belowground were suspended on Friday due to new methane explosions at the mine.
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