Romania mine collapse kills one, injures two

Bucharest (AFP) –


One man has died and two others have been severely injured after parts of a coal mine collapsed in southern Romania, emergency services said Friday.

Eleven workers were inside the gallery, about 500 metres (1,640 feet) below ground, when its roof suddenly crumbled on Thursday afternoon.

Eight of them managed to scramble to safety but three remained trapped in the Lupeni mine in Jiu Valley, Romania's main mining region.

By the time rescuers reached the miners after a difficult 10-hour operation, only two were still alive.

It is the latest in a series of deadly accidents to strike Romanian mines over the years.

Once the pride and joy of the Communist regime with an annual output of 28 million tons of coal, the mines have since turned unprofitable and regularly draw criticism because of their poor working conditions.

Romania, the European Union's second-poorest member state after Bulgaria, has vowed to phase out coal production and instead focus on clean energy sources.

The Lupeni mine is due to close by the end of 2018, according to the government.