Czech Republic coal mine explosion death toll rises to 13

Mining company spokesperson says 11 Polish nationals and two Czech nationals have died so far

Friday 21 December 2018 11:01 GMT
Both the Polish and Czech prime minister offered condolences to the families of the victims
Both the Polish and Czech prime minister offered condolences to the families of the victims (AP)

The death toll in a methane explosion that hit a coal mine in north-east Czech Republic has increased to 13, a mining company said on Friday.

OKD mining company spokesperson Ivo Celechovsky said 11 of the dead were Polish nationals while two were Czechs. Another 10 miners were injured in the explosion on Thursday afternoon at the CSM mine near the town of Karvina. Previously, the death toll stood at five.

The Czech public television said three of the injured were still hospitalised in the city of Ostrava, with one of them in critical condition. The explosion occurred about 800 metres (2,600 feet) underground.

OKD executive director Boleslav Kowalczyk said rescue efforts were continuing on Friday despite a fire in the mine.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Czech counterpart Andrej Babis have offered their condolences to the families of the victims. The two leaders were expected to arrive at the mine on Friday.

"I wish to express words of deepest sympathy to all the close victims of the mining disaster in Karvina," Mr Morawiecki said. "This is a huge tragedy for all Poles and Czechs. On this difficult day, we strongly show our solidarity and sense of national community."

Polish President Andrzej Duda also expressed his condolences on Twitter, saying "O Lord, keep the families of the miners in your care. RIP.”

Associated Press

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