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Polish coal mine explosion traps 23

Written by: Staff
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WARSAW, Nov 21 (Reuters) A gas explosion trapped 23 miners underground in a coal mine in southern Poland today, the state-run coal mining company said.

A company spokesman said rescue work was in progress.

''It is hard to say exactly what is going on there right now,'' Zbigniew Madej, spokesman for the state-run Polish Coal Company, told Polish All News television.

''Most likely there are 23 men trapped down there and it is still unclear whether we will be able to reach them.'' A miner in the town of Ruda, around 300 km southwest of the capital Warsaw, told Reuters there had been a loud explosion, probably from a shaft about 1 km below ground.

He said he believed there were casualties in the mine but could give no further details.

Police said the blast had occurred at around 4:30 p.m. (2100 IST) and was probably caused by methane.

REUTERS DKS PM0017

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