Polish authorities have confirmed all 23 miners trapped underground in a methane-contaminated coal mine have been killed. Family and friends of the victims rushed to the hospital, where some of the bodies brought out overnight were transported. spokesman for the mining company said rescuers recovered the last bodies after a night-long operation. It is understood the men were caught in a methane blast in the Halemba mine in Ruda Slaska after trying to recover expensive machinery left behind when a shaft was closed last March.
Before the last bodies were recovered, around the country, people lit candles, praying there would be survivors of the tragedy. Flags were already at half mast for eight of the men whose bodies had earlier been recovered. The President has promised a public inquiry into the cause of the disaster. He said he had received indications some of the miners were not experienced and not sufficiently qualified. A period of national mourning has been declared by Poland’s Prime Minister.