Bos­nian mine ac­ci­dent: 29 res­cued, 5 min­ers buried

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

ZENICA, Bos­nia-Herze­gov­ina (AP) — Ex­hausted, dusty but happy to be alive, 29 min­ers were pulled out one by one Fri­day from a trou­ble-plagued coal mine that col­lapsed a day ear­lier in cen­tral Bos­nia. They left be­hind five men, pre­sumed dead un­der rub­ble deep un­der­ground and beyond the reach of res­cuers.

Emer­gency work­ers had dug through more than 100 me­ters (330 feet) of col­lapsed mine tun­nels 500 me­ters be­low the sur­face to reach the trapped men.

Fam­i­lies of those who were left be­hind broke down in tears as au­thor­i­ties closed the pit en­trance.

“We could not reach that group of peo­ple,” said res­cue worker Amir Ar­naut. “We could only reach the first group.”

Of­fi­cials said that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be launched to de­ter­mine the cause of the ac­ci­dent, but they sug­gested it was linked to a 3.5 mag­ni­tude earth­quake which hit the town of Zenica on Thurs­day af­ter­noon, ac­cord­ing to Bos­nia’s seis­mol­o­gists. The tremor caused a pres­sure burst and a gas blast which col­lapsed the mine, of­fi­cials said.

It was the third in­ci­dent at the Zenica pits this year, un­der­scor­ing the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of the mines in Bos­nia and else­where in the Balkans, which are gen­er­ally poorly se­cured and where min­ers work with out­dated equip­ment and lit­tle pro­tec­tion.

Once com­mu­nist Yu­goslavia’s pride, mines likes the ones in Zenica have been badly main­tained, and have seen almost no in­vest­ment and mod­ern­iza­tion as the re­gion was en­gulfed in an eth­nic con­flict in 1990s.

The res­cued men, blink­ing as they faced day­light, emerged from the mine to cries of joy from their fam­i­lies.

“He is alive!” cried Ad­mira Du­rakovic, whose hus­band Amir was among the min­ers. She then broke down, sob­bing and shak­ing.

Twenty-six min­ers were taken to a hos­pi­tal, six of them badly hurt, but none suf­fered life-threat­en­ing in­juries, doc­tors said.

Alija Celebic, a re­tired miner, waited for his son Bego, one of the sur­vivors. Celebic said his son was hurt in the same pit only few weeks ago, but re­cently re­turned to work.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.