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Explosion kills five in Romania's Uricani mine

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-02-05

An explosion killed five workers in Romania's south-west Uricani mine Saturday, leaving no survivors. According to officials, the five had been finishing an electrical installation when the blast happened.

AFP - An explosion on Saturday killed five workers in the Uricani mine in southwest Romania, a mine spokesperson told AFP.

"There are no survivors, five people are dead," the spokesperson Oana Stoicuta said.

"It's a tragedy down there...," the mayor of Uricani, Danut Buhaescu, told Mediafax news agency.

An official, Horia Radu, previously said the five were electricians working on an electrical installation.

The blast occurred at a depth of around 400 metres (1,300 feet), mine officials said.

"At 14:30 (12:30 GMT) the workers said they had finished their job but some ten minutes later we smelt smoke coming out of the ventilation system," Stoicuta said. A rescue team found the bodies five hours later.

No other workers were in the mine at the time of the accident because it was the weekend.

Interior Minister Train Igas arrived at the mine Saturday and met the relatives of the victims.

The Uricani coal mine is situated in the Jiu Valley, the most important mining area still operating in Romania. The mine employs some 800 people and is one of the oldest in the country.

Economy ministry official Florin Staicu said Saturday the mine would be closed down by 2018 as part of a mining sector restructuring plan.

Saturday's accident is the most serious since two blasts in the Petrila mine, also in the Jui Valley region, in November 2008, killed 13 people.

Working conditions in the mines in this region have regularly been criticised in Romania.


Date created : 2011-02-05