Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Saturday, 19 September 2009 16:47 UK

State mourning for Poland miners

Explosion kills Polish coal miners

Poland has announced two days of national mourning after 13 miners died in a gas explosion at a mine in the south of the country.

From 0600 on Monday, flags will fly at half-mast and with many sporting and cultural events will be cancelled.

The miners were working more than a kilometre underground at the Wujek-Slask mine when the explosion occurred, in Poland's southern Silesian area.

The latest victim is a 22-year old man who died of his burns on Saturday.

Officials say 30 men were transferred to hospital at the time, several of whom were suffering from severe burns.

Gas sensors

The explosion is thought to have been caused by the ignition of a pocket of methane gas.

On Friday, Andrzej Bielecki, the mine's chief engineer, told Polish television channel TVP INFO that around 40 miners had been underground in the area at the time of the blast.


Production at the mine had been halted, the fire had been brought under control and miners were continuing to work in areas that had been designated as safe, he added.

The explosion is the worst mining accident in Poland since a methane gas explosion killed 23 miners at the Halemba mine in Silesia three years ago, says the BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw.

Several of that mine's management are now on trial.

Investigators will want to know why the mine's sensors did not pick up the presence of the gas in this latest disaster, our correspondent adds.

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