7 miners missing in Poland after tremor hits coal mine

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Four coal miners were rescued but seven others are missing after a tremor struck a mine in southern Poland, a spokeswoman for a coal mining company said Saturday.

A rescue operation was launched at 11:25 a.m. Saturday after a tremor occurred at the Zofiowka coal mine, said Katarzyna Jablonska-Bajer of the Jastrzebie Coal Company.

The mine is located in the southern town of Jatrzebie-Zdroj near Poland’s border with the Czech Republic.

She said four miners were brought to the surface but contact was lost with seven others who were 900 meters (2,950 feet) under the ground. She said there was some hope the missing miners could have taken another exit from the corridor where they had been working.

“There has never been such a powerful tremor at the mine,” she said, adding that rescuers cannot go to the site because of high methane levels there.

Coal mining is a major industry in Poland and coal remains the main source of energy and heating, but Poland is taking some steps to shift toward renewable, cleaner sources of energy.

The Main Statistical Office says some 65.8 million metric tons (58.7 million tonnes) of coal were extracted last year, some 4.8 million tons less than in 2016.

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