Two miners died and two are missing after an accident on July 16 at the Oranovo coalmine in south-western Bulgaria, the fourth major accident at the mine in the past eight years.
Relatives and friends gathered at the mine after the accident, which took place at about 9.30am. The accident took place about a kilometre deep into the mine.
Local media quoted municipal mayor Apostol Apostolov as saying that it was very worrying that while the accident had happened at 9.30am, it had been reported to police only just after 11am.
He alleged that not meeting safety regulations was “already a tradition at this mine”.
In the course of the attempted rescue operation, one of the rescue team was removed from the mine after he felt ill.
Government and trade union officials reportedly were on their way to the accident site.
About 300 people are employed at the mine.
Blagoevgrad regional governor Musa Palev said that there would be a full investigation into the mine, not only related to the accident.
Valentin Vulchev of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions was quoted by Bulgarian news agency BTA as saying that the mine’s financial difficulties probably had led to cutbacks on safety at the mine.
(Photo: John Nyberg/sxc.hu)