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14 Coal Miners Killed in Romania Blast

August 7, 2001

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VULCAN, Romania (AP) _ A methane gas explosion deep in a coal mine in western Romania killed at least 14 miners early Tuesday and injured two others in the country’s worst mining accident in more than a decade.

One of the two injured miners was flown by helicopter to the western city of Timisoara for treatment of serious burns.

``At about 3:30 a.m., methane gas was ignited at the Vulcan mine,″ Paulian Furtuna, spokesman for the mine company, said. ``Following this ... incident, 14 people lost their lives.″

The explosion occurred in the Vulcan mine, Romania’s main coalfield, some 185 miles northwest of the capital, Bucharest, during the night shift as miners were working to extract coal at a depth of 1,115 feet.

Rescue workers retrieved 10 bodies by midmorning Tuesday, said Aurelian Serafinceanu, the prefect for the county of Hunedoara where Vulcan is located. He told the private news agency Mediafax that the total number of victims was not yet known.

Serafinceanu said families hadn’t been notified because the bodies hadn’t been identified. Private television station Pro-TV showed bodies wrapped in gray tarpaulin being pulled out if the mine and put in a truck.

There was no word on whether other miners had survived or were trapped below ground.

The accident was the worst such accident since 1989, when an explosion killed 29 miners at the coal mine. In 1986, 57 miners died at the same mine.

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