Mine accident in central Serbia kills 8, injures 18

Serbian authorities say an accident in a mine in central Serbia has killed 8 people and wounded 18 others

Via AP news wire
Friday 01 April 2022 14:43 BST

An accident Friday in a mine in central Serbia killed eight people and wounded 18 others, authorities said. It happened when part of the mine pit collapsed, releasing the methane gas inside and trapping the miners, state RTS television and local media reported.

The accident in the Soko coal mine happened shortly after 4 a.m. (0200GMT). Officials said an investigation is underway to determine exactly what happened.

“Inspectors, police and all relevant authorities are at the scene, doing what is necessary to determine the cause of this tragedy,” said the Mining and Energy Minister Zorana Mihailovic.

MIhailovic visited the site on Friday and expressed condolences to the families of the victims, promising state help. She denied reports of an explosion.

“Unfortunately, 8 miners suffocated,” said Mihailovic.

The Soko mine, 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of Belgrade, the capital, has had several serious accidents since it started operating in the early 1900s. An accident in the mine in 1998 killed 29 miners.

Drago Milinkovic, the Soko coal mine manager, said initial information suggested there was a “sudden release of methane” gas into the mining area.

“Soko coal mine is a dangerous coal mine, dangerous from the aspect of methane,” he said. "Security measures are at the highest level in the coal mine, but this time there was a sudden release of methane and simply the monitoring and the equipment that were in place did not help.”

Doctors in nearby Aleksinac, where injured miners have been brought, said their injuries mostly are not serious. Town authorities declared a day of mourning to be held Saturday.

Near the mine, stunned locals stood in silence. One miner who identified himself only by his first name, Milan, said he usually worked in the overnight shift.

“I changed shifts because of my family," he said. “It could have been me.”

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in