Thursday, 14-November-2019 03:54
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Thursday, 23-November-2006
Warsaw - - The last of the miners missing after an explosion at a coal mine in south-western Poland were found dead Thursday, bringing the death toll to 23 in one of the country's worst mining accidents in years.

Mining company spokesman Zbigniew Madej said the final two bodies had been found a day and a half after the methane-gas blast at the Halemba mine in Ruda Slaska in Upper Silesia. Rescue teams had recovered 15 other bodies earlier Thursday.

There had been little hope of the miners surviving, given the strength of Tuesday's explosion and the high concentrations of methane gas in the mine.

No signs of life, such as shouts or tapping, had been heard from around the blast site.

The explosion had shut down the mine's ventilation system, bringing rescue efforts to a halt for several hours Wednesday after rescuers recovered an initial six bodies. A build-up of methane gas also raised the risk of a second blast.

Emergency crews pumped fresh air into the mine Wednesday, but the efforts failed to save the 17 miners found Thursday at the blast site 1,000 metres below ground.

High gas levels led to the mine shaft being shut down in March. The dead miners, aged between 21 and 59, were retrieving equipment when the blast occurred.

2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
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