Monday, 28 October 2013

Spain: Suspected methane gas leak kills six miners, ten trapped

A methane gas leak at a coalmine in northern Spain has been blamed for the deaths of six miners.

The deaths occurred at the Santa Lucia mine near the town of Pola de Gordon, according to the 112 regional emergency service of Castilla and Leon.

Five others people were injured, four seriously. They were taken to the hospital in Leon, the regional capital.

Ten other workers remain trapped inside the mine, according to El Pais newspaper.

The civil guard reported that there was no explosion and the probable cause of death was poisoning from gas leak.

The mine is 694 metres (2,300ft) deep and is operated by the Basque Leon Coal Company.

Some 400 people work in the mine. The last mining tragedy in Leon was in 1995 when a 32-year-old worker died and other four were seriously injured in a mine gas explosion.

The gas leak happened so quickly that the miners did not have time to put their protective masks on, said Jose Antonio Colinas, who represents miners at the local branch of the UGT trade union.

"They really did not have time to react, the atmosphere was invaded by methane," he told reporters at the scene.

It is the worst accident at a Spanish mine since 14 miners were killed on August 31, 1995, due to a methane explosion at a coalmine near Mieres in the northern province of Austurias.

Spain's coal mining sector has been contracting for decades, with a reduction in government mining subsidies hastening the closure of unprofitable mines.

Around 40 coalmines are still in operation, mainly in the north of the country, employing some 8,000 miners.

Like other European countries, Spain has committed to gradually close unprofitable coalmines in the next few years.

Monday 28 October 2013


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