Czech coal mine blast toll kills to 13

Czech coal mine blast toll rises to 13

Czech coal mine blast toll rises to 13

A methane explosion in a Czech coal mine has killed 13 miners, including 11 Polish nationals and two Czechs, the mine operator OKD said on Friday.

Officials say 12 of the dead were Polish nationals while one was Czech, and that 10 other miners were injured in the blast.

Rescuers found five dead miners on Thursday and reported eight missing.

OKD said earlier that a methane blast more than 800 metres underground devastated areas of the CSM coal mine near the eastern town of Karvina on Thursday.

This story is developing.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis is to visit the mine on Friday with his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki.

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Nada Chattova, a spokesperson for the hospital in the nearby city of Ostrava, said two men had been treated at its burns centre, including one fighting for his life. "Of course we will offer care to all of the families of the mining (accident) victims and for all those who survived", he said, according to the PAP news agency.

"There must have been some source, some spark, which ignited the methane", he said.

The mine's operator - OKD mining company- confirmed the incident Thursday, and claimed the blast was caused from a methane explosion almost 2,500 feet underground.

"We're one big family, it's a bad tragedy", a Czech miner told the local Polar TV.

He added they would work there at least until Sunday.

"I was supposed to be there, I work with these teams every day".

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