Eight miners were confirmed dead and at least 20 injured in a methane gas explosion at the Soko coal mine in central Serbia.
Media reports said that the explosion happened at 5:00 am, bringing down parts of the mine shaft and leaving some miners trapped.
The Serbian state TV (RTS) quoted the head of the medical center in the town of Aleksinac who confirmed the deaths and injuries, adding that injured miners were also being taken to other medical facilities in the area. The Aleksinac emergency services sent four medical teams to the mine. The miners in the shaft at the time of the methane explosion were from Aleksinac.
Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti said that at least 20 miners were trapped by the blast, adding that efforts are underway to rescue them.
The Soko coal mine is located near the spa town of Soko Banja. This was not the first serious incident at the mine – 29 miners died in 1998 following a gas explosion.
An N1 reporter at the mine was told by mine sources that the miners were inadequately equipped.