THE BODIES of three out of the four miners killed in a cave-in in a mine in west-central Slovakia's Nováky on November 16 remain buried some 200 metres underground, despite the efforts of rescuers over the weekend.
The rescue operation showed that the collapse inside the mine was so large that the miners had had no chance to avoid the mud, which also destroyed heavy mining machinery, the Sme daily wrote.
The rescue work was complicated by the threat of further landslides that could have endangered the rescue team.
Seven miners managed to escape the landslide, as at the time of the tragedy they were further away from the cave-in.
According to the managers of the Hornonitrianske Bane mine, the landslide was caused by an "anomalous phenomenon", an unusual vertical rupture in the earth that left an 11 metre-wide and 30 metre-deep crater on the surface above the mine. However, many miners said after the disaster that they had warned the management that a problem was imminent, as in the weeks before the cave-in, the flow of water from the ceiling of the shaft had increased.
All four dead miners were married and had children. The management of the mining company have visited the families of all the dead miners and given them psychological and medical assistance. The company is also planning to compensate the miners' families financially. According to the Nový Čas daily, the compensation is expected to be around Sk750,000.
- Martina Jurinová