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Several dead in Czech coal mine blast

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By Alasdair Sandford  with Reuters
Several dead in Czech coal mine blast

An explosion at a coal mine in the Czech Republic has killed thirteen people, the mining company has said.

OKD said earlier that a methane blast more than 800 metres underground devastated areas of the CSM coal mine near the eastern town of Karvina on Thursday.

The dead were 11 Poles and two Czechs, the company said.

The blast is the worst mining accident in the Czech Republic since 1990, when 30 minters died in a fire at a mine, also near Karvina, according to the CTK news agency.

OKD managing director Boleslav Kowalczyk said the search of the scene had had to be abandoned due to conditions in the shaft.

"Unfortunately, we have reached a point where it was impossible to move forward, because there was a fire raging and zero visibility," he said.