POLKOWICE, Poland, Nov. 30 (UPI) — At least five people died and three others were unaccounted for in southwest Poland after an earthquake rattled a copper mine Wednesday, authorities said.
The quake, with a magnitude measured at 4.4 by the U.S. Geological Survey, caused a cave-in at the Rudna mine, officials said, which is one of the largest copper mines in Europe.
“We will announce four days of mourning and will cancel some of events organised for Miners’ Day on Sunday,” mining executive Radoslaw Domagalski-Labedzki said. “A rescue operation is being carried out under very difficult conditions.”
Initially, four people were reported killed but one of the missing miners was found dead, Polish media reported.
Although the quake was moderate, it caused extensive damage in the mine because underground operations are particularly susceptible to seismic activity.
Others at the mine were hospitalized with injuries, but are expected to survive.
A mining official said the three missing miners are believed to be trapped, and rescue crews are digging to free them.
Nearly four years ago, 19 miners were rescued at the mine after an earthquake caused a similar cave-in.
The Rudna mine, which also contains a vast silver reserve, is located about 215 miles southwest of the capital, Warsaw.