Rescuers have located the bodies of 16 miners and mine rescue workers who were missing following an explosion at the Handlova coal mine (Trenčín Region), Hornonitrianske Uhoľneé Bane mine spokesperson Adriana Siváková announced on August 11.
The identification of the bodies will be carried out on the basis of DNA analysis, said Siváková, adding that an autopsy of six of the bodies was under way in Bojnice Hospital. So far, the rescuers haven’t managed to reach the bodies of four other missing workers.
The explosion took place in the mine’s Eastern Shaft at approximately 08:30 on Monday, August 10. It occurred while fire-fighters were tackling a fire in a mine tunnel. According to several witnesses, the explosion was significant, with smoke reaching an air shaft located several hundred metres away. Much of the network of tunnels has been blocked.
The government declared a national day of mourning at an extraordinary session on Tuesday dedicated to the tragedy, Slovakia’s worst since independence in 1993. The period of mourning will last from 08:00 to 20:00 on Wednesday, August 12, in accordance with the Act on the State Symbols of Slovakia. The Government called on all state bodies and institutions to lower state flags to half mast. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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