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The Warsaw Voice » Society » September 30, 2009
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Tragedy Strikes at Coal Mine
September 30, 2009   
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Seventeen miners were killed and 35 others were injured, several of them seriously, in an underground methane gas explosion at the Wujek-¦l±sk coal mine in southern Poland Sept. 18.

The blast at the pit in the town of Ruda ¦l±ska was the worst disaster in Polish mines in the last three years.

Experts from the State Mining Authority have started an investigation to determine what caused the blast. According to the mining authority chief, Piotr Litwa, the probe has established that methane gas in the mine first caught fire and then exploded.

Litwa added that the large amount of methane in the mine could have been caused by an abrupt release of gas trapped in rock.

Press reports claimed managers at the mine had been aware that methane at the site posed a danger but, worried that profits would be hit, decided that mining should continue. Officials have not confirmed the reports.

"We need to think twice if we really have to dig for coal everywhere, at any depth and under any conditions," Prime Minister Donald Tusk said after the disaster.
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