Five dead, eight missing after methane explosion in Czech coal mine

Rescue personnel prepare to search for missing miners after a methane explosion at the CSM hard coal mine in Karvina, Czech Republic, December 20, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

PRAGUE (Reuters) – Five miners died and eight were unaccounted for after a methane explosion at the CSM hard coal mine in the east of the Czech Republic on Thursday, the mine’s operator OKD said.

A company spokesman said on Czech Television eight others were injured in the blast, which caused devastation in some underground work areas with poor visibility obstructing the efforts of rescue units.

State-owned OKD operates shafts in the Karvina region near the Polish border. Spokesman Ivo Celechovsky said the explosion took place about 800 meters (875 yards) under the surface after 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Thursday.

“The death toll has grown to five, eight miners are missing and 10 miners, mostly Polish, were injured,” he said. “Rescue works are continuing.”

Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Alison Williams and Tom Brown

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