Five dead after probable explosion in Polish coal mine

Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

Four miners and one rescuer were killed after two probable methane explosions in the Pniowek coal mine in Pawlowice, southern Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Jastrzebska Spolka Weglowa (JSW), the owner of the mine, reported that methane gas was probably ignited just past midnight, about 1,000 metres underground. There was likely another explosion at the time when rescuers were in the area searching for the missing miners.

A rescue operation is currently underway, JSW added.

"I am lost for words because we already know that five people are dead, seven are still trapped in the mine," Morawecki said during his visit to the Pniowek mine. He added that over 20 people were hospitalised with severe burns.

According to Tomasz Siemieniec, the manager of the JSW communications team, there were 42 workers in the area. The twenty-one people injured in the incident were transported to hospitals, and most suffered from burns. Seven miners are still missing.

"The injured miners are being treated in various hospitals across the southern region of Silesia, whereas the most seriously injured have been sent to the Burn Treatment Centre in Siemianowice Slaskie," said Adam Niedzielski, the health minister, who visited the facility on Wednesday afternoon.

Three miners died underground, and a fourth died after being transported to the hospital in Siemianowice Slaskie, southern Poland.

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