An accident at the JSW-owned Pniowek coal mine in Pawłowice Śląskie in southern Poland has killed five people, with another seven still missing.

The accident occurred on 20 April 2022 in the N-6 longwall, 1,000m underground and was triggered by two methane ignitions.

At the time of the accident, there were a total of 42 workers.

The company stated 25 injured miners were rescued and transported to hospitals.

Poland Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was cited by Reuters as saying: “We know that five people have died and seven people are trapped.

“This terrible tragedy shows that the life of a miner is not only a huge effort but also a great risk.”

A team of 13 people are undertaking rescue operations in the area, where the permissible gas concentrations are still high, making rescue operations difficult, JSW said.

Throughout the night, the rescuers carried out intensive work to restore the endangered area’s atmosphere to safe gas concentrations.

This work involved the construction of a fan and more than 200m of a duct to allow the injection of clean air.

Furthermore, the rescuers built about 500m of the duct with sections to effectively ventilate the longwall excavation of the N-6 walls and enable a safe search for workers.

Morawiecki said: “A great misfortune happened. Rescuers always say beautifully that they are going for a living person and you always have to try to reach these people as soon as possible, but the situation is really, very difficult.”