HERTEN, West Germany (AP) _ A methane gas explosion in a Ruhr Valley coal mine early Thursday injured five miners, hours after a similar accident in the same mine killed one miner and hurt 55, authorities said.

Methane gas is a natural product of the carbonization of coal and is often present in coal mines.

Two of the five injured Thursday were hospitalized suffering from burns, said Hans Karlisch, spokesman of Ruhrkohle, West Germany's biggest mining company. Ruhrkohle owns the Herten mine, 40 miles north of Duesseldorf.

Twelve miners injured in Wednesday's midday explosion in a shaft nearly 3,000 feet deep in the Herten mine remained in area hospitals.