Authorities in southern Poland have recovered the bodies of 15 trapped coal miners, ending any hope of finding survivors from a gas explosion. It brings the final total death to 23. The miners were in a shaft more than a kilometre underground in the Halemba mine, one of the country’s oldest, when the blast occurred. Rescuers in the town of Ruda Slaska had worked for two days in a desperate search for the men, most of whom had gone down into the pit to retrieve machinery.
People here are used to mining accidents. Starved of investment for years, Poland’s state-run industry has suffered more than 150 deaths in the last three decades. But this is Poland’s worst mining accident for several years. A public inquiry has been launched amid claims that some of the miners were not experienced or sufficiently qualified. Three days of national mourning are expected to be announced later.