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Two more Polish coal miners dead; search continues for missing

WARSAW, POLAND (AP) – The death toll from accidents in recent days at two coal mines in southern Poland has increased to seven after two miners were brought to the surface and pronounced dead, authorities said yesterday.

The miners were among 10 who went missing after an underground tremour and methane gas discharge at the Borynia-Zofiowka mine on Saturday. Six miners remain missing, and rescuers said they have found two others without saying if they were dead or alive.

Elsewhere, five workers died and seven went missing after repeated methane blasts that started last Wednesday at the nearby Pniowek mine. The search for those missing was suspended on Friday after new explosions late Thursday injured 10 rescue workers, some seriously.

Both mines are operated by the Jastrzebska Spolka Weglowa, JSW, in the Jastrzebie-Zdroj region, close to the Czech border.

The majority of Poland’s energy comes from coal, a proportion that is drawing criticism from the European Union and environmental groups who are concerned about CO2 emissions and meeting climate change goals. Most Polish coal mines are in the southern Silesia region.

Many are characterised by the high presence of methane in the rock.

Rescuers going to join the search action for 10 miners gone missing after a powerful underground tremor and methane gas discharge at the Borynia-Zofiowka coal mine in Jastrzebie-Zdroj, southern Poland. PHOTO: AP