Rescue operation in KWK Pniówek
Under the best care
Nine employees of Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa injured in the Pniówek mine disaster in Pawłowice left the Burn Treatment Center in Siemianowice Śląskie today, and one was discharged on Monday. The patients have completed their hyperbaric chamber therapy and are now home.
Ten JSW S.A. employees remain in the hospital in Siemianowice.
"The miners who remain in our hospital are treated in many ways. These include wound cleaning, surgery, and skin and amniotic membrane transplantation. We also grow skin cells for our patients and give them plasma eye drops," informs Wojciech Smętek of the Dr. Stanislaw Sakiel Burn Treatment Center in Siemianowice Śląskie.
"Our miners are provided with the best possible care. The Burn Treatment Center in Siemianowice Śląskie is a leading Polish hospital with very experienced staff" says Tomasz Cudny, President of the JSW S.A. Management Board.
The facility has been treating burn injuries and chronic wounds for 24 years. There are 4 specialized wards, as well as an Hyperbaric Oxygen Laboratory, a Tissue Bank and a Chronic Wound Care Unit.
2 May 2022, 8:00 a.m.
End of the rescue operation
At 7.43 a.m., after blocking the area of the N-6 longwall where a methane explosion occurred, the operation manager ended the rescue operation. After the fire is extinguished in the blocked area, the rescue operation will resume to search for the seven missing workers.
28 April 2022, 6:00 p.m.
Ninth fatality of the disaster
One of the 20 miners from the Pniowek mine in the Burn Treatment Center in Siemianowice Śląskie died on Thursday. This is the ninth fatality due to the methane explosion that took place on Wednesday after midnight last week. Seven people are considered missing.
28 April 2022, 12:00 p.m.
The endangered region is being isolated
Rescue workers are building stoppings to prevent explosions in the Pniowek mine. A cement-based grout has been poured into the first and second stoppings to prevent explosions. In accordance with the pertinent legal regulations, representatives of the Central Mining Rescue Service Station conducted the acceptance procedure to confirm that the stoppings have been built correctly. At present, to ensure more complete isolation the rescue workers must additionally pour grout into the large-sized opening used to aerate one of the mining roadways. After this opening is isolated and after the passages in the stoppings to prevent explosions are sealed off, the region surrounding longwall N-6 will be isolated from the other part of the mine. Then, after waiting for 12 hours and obtaining information that the oxygen content concentration has subsided below 8% on the other side of the stoppings, the manager will probably end the rescue operation.
The total number of fatalities following the methane explosion and combustion in the Pniowek mine is eight. Seven persons are considered to be missing. In turn, 20 people are in the Burn Treatment Center in Siemianowice Śląskie.
26 April 2022, 9:40 p.m.
Another miner has died
One of the 20 miners from the Pniówek mine being treated in the Burn Treatment Center in Siemianowice Śląskie died on Tuesday. This is the eighth victim of the methane explosion that took place on Wednesday after midnight. 19 employees are undergoing treatment in the hospital in Siemianowice.
26 April 2022, 12:00 p.m.
The seventh fatality due to the explosion
One of the 21 miners from the Pniowek mine in the Burn Treatment Center in Siemianowice Śląskie died on Tuesday morning. This is the seventh fatality due to the methane explosion that took place on Wednesday after midnight. Seven people have still not been found.
One miner was admitted to hospital with isolated respiratory burns before 4 p.m. on Monday, 25 April.
25 April 2022, 6:00 a.m.
Another fatality due to the explosion
One of the 21 miners from the Pniówek mine in the Burn Treatment Center in Siemianowice Śląskie died on Sunday after 7 p.m. This is the sixth fatality due to the methane explosion that took place on Wednesday after midnight. Seven people have still not been found.
The rescue operation is ongoing. The rescue workers are working on building two stoppings to prevent explosions that will temporarily isolate the endangered region from the rest of the mine. A cement-based mineral grout is currently being poured on one stopping. The structure of the other air stopping is ready. The rescue workers will begin pouring today. It takes roughly two days to do the pouring for one stopping.
23 April 2022, 11:00 a.m.
Decision to build air stoppings
The rescue operation management team along with additional scientists has recommended, and the rescue operation manager has decided, to build two air stoppings to prevent explosions in the region surrounding longwall N-6. At present, the materials to build these air stoppings are in transport.
The status of the ventilation in the area surrounding longwall N-6 has been stabilized. Not even a single methane explosion has been recorded since 6 p.m. on Friday.
22 April 2022, 4:30 p.m.
The CEO of LW Bogdanka visits Pniówek
Artur Wasil, CEO of LW Bogdanka laid flowers and lit a cemetery candle in front of the figure of Saint Barbara at the Pniówek mine. In this way he paid his respects to the miners who died tragically during the catastrophe at Pniówek.
“Even though a great distance separates us, we are united by the pain we feel with the families of those who perished and we offer our assistance to the people who have been affected by this catastrophe”, said President Artur Wasil.
22 April 2022, 12:00 a.m.
Decision to isolate the affected area
The rescue operation in the Pniówek mine in Pawłowice is limited to isolating the disaster area. The decision - due to the high risk of further methane explosions and the safety of the rescue teams - was made by the crisis management team expanded to include scientists.
“These are very difficult decisions, however, we must think about the safety of the rescue workers. Sending them to such a dangerous area would be risky and thus very irresponsible," said Tomasz Cudny, President of the Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa Management Board.
From the beginning, the rescue operation was conducted under difficult conditions. The situation worsened considerably on Thursday evening, when more sections of the ventilation pipeline were being added. As rescue workers were withdrawing, explosions occurred, resulting in blasts affecting 10 rescuers. Eight of them with minor injuries were taken to hospitals in, among others, Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Żory, Rybnik, Wodzisław Śląski and Pszczyna. Several remained for observation; the rest were discharged home. Their health and lives are not in danger.
“The determination of the rescue teams to reach the injured miners was enormous,"said Edward Paździorko, Vice-President of the Management Board for Technical and Operational Affairs at JSW. "Despite the stabilization of the air during the operation, there was another explosion, which was beyond our control. Stabilization of the air underground is needed to rule out further uncontrolled explosions. This will allow us to assess the situation later and proceed to isolate the area. The sheer determination of the rescuers, however tremendous, could have resulted in more teams being exposed to danger," added Edward Paździorko.
Piotr Buchwald, President of the Management Board of the Central Mining Rescue Station in Bytom, stressed that such situations in the mining industry have not happened much so far.
- The crisis management team, along with scientists, analyzed four options for isolating the affected area. Ultimately, it was decided to take appropriate action aimed to stabilize the ventilation situation. In a dozen or so hours, the situation should return to normal and then the next decisions will be made on which option to choose and on direct isolation,” explained Piotr Buchwald, President of the Management Board of the Central Mining Rescue Station in Bytom.
Seven employees of the Pniówek mine are currently one kilometer underground. “We spoke with the wives and other family members of the injured workers who remain underground for now. The relatives of our employees were the first to be informed about the situation and received psychological care," said Aleksander Szymura, Director for Labor at the Pniówek mine.
So far, 5 workers have been confirmed dead and 7 more are missing. The accident occurred at longwall N-6, on the 1,000-meter level, on Wednesday at a quarter past midnight. A total of 42 workers were in the affected area. 21 of them are in hospitals, including 10 in the Burn Treatment Center in Siemianowice Śląskie.
21 April 2022, 9:00 p.m.
Challenging situation at Pniówek
More explosions took place on Thursday evening in the Pniówek mine in the community of Pawłowice where the rescue operation following Wednesday’s methane explosions is in progress. This event took place while rescue workers were working to extend the ventilation system in gallery N-12 in the region of longwall N-6 to make it possible to reach the missing miners on the longwall. After the rescue workers had added another ventilation pipe and were in the process of withdrawing, some additional explosions took place. The ensuing blasts affected 10 rescue workers who were injured as a result. All of them were placed in local hospitals after they returned to the surface; most of them are under observation. All of the rescue workers evacuated the endangered area on their own. These explosions stopped the work on building the ventilation system, and consequently, this has stopped the operation to search for the seven employees who suffered from Wednesday’s explosions.
The head of the rescue operation made the decision to suspend all activities until the atmosphere in the area of longwall N-6 stabilizes. Tomorrow morning at 6:30 a.m. a meeting will be held in the Pniówek mine with the extended rescue operation team including experts to decide about the next steps in the rescue operation.
21 April 2022, 7:45 p.m.
Rescue workers assembled a 100-meter ventilation system
The rescue workers are continuously striving to reach the seven employees who are one kilometer underground in the region of longwall N-6. Thus far the rescue workers have installed a 100-meter section of the ventilation system in gallery N-12 above the longwall. They have another 170 meters to go to reach the intersection with longwall N-6. The ventilation system is being assembled in sections of 10 to 20 meters in length. On account of the prevailing conditions in the mining roadway, it is time consuming to do this while simultaneously adhering to safe working conditions for the rescue crews.
Earlier, to enhance the efficiency of ventilating the mining roadway, a two-cycle ventilator was installed. It pumps approximately 450 cubic meters of air a minute. The extension of the ventilation system will make it possible to aerate the mining roadway steadily and effectively and thereby continue the search for the employees.
To recap, on Wednesday at a quarter after midnight there were two combustions in the Pniówek mine. One of them was discovered during the rescue operation and it was the most dangerous. 42 employees in total were in the endangered region. 21 injured persons are in various hospitals and five employees have died. The family members of the victims are receiving psychological care.
21 April, 4:00 p.m.
The President of Poland visits Pniówek
Andrzej Duda, the President of Poland paid a visit to the Pniówek mine where a rescue operation is in progress. He met with the JSW Management Board, the mine’s management team and mine rescue workers.
“The bravery of the rescue workers who are currently underground fighting against this element is enormous. Just a moment ago I spoke with rescue workers, and with some of the crew that was underground at the time of the explosion and with rescue workers who are not injured save for some small scratches. This demonstrates their extraordinary bravery, extraordinary heroism and extraordinary service for their colleagues and friends”, said President Andrzej Duda.
The President reviewed the course of the rescue operation with the rescue operation management team and lighted a cemetery candle in front of the figure of Saint Barbara on the mine’s premises.
“I would ask that the loved ones of the miners and the rescue workers who died accept my condolences as this is a very difficult situation”, said Andrzej Duda, President of Poland.
The mine rescue workers continue their efforts to reach the seven employees. Thus far they have put in place a ventilation system of 42 meters in length on gallery N-12. Its extension is still in progress. Moreover, to secure more efficient ventilation of the mining roadway, a two-cycle ventilator has been put in place. It is currently pumping roughly 450 cubic meters of air a minute.
21 April, 11:00 a.m.
Aerating the mining roadway
The mine rescue worker crew has started to operate an underground ventilation system using a specially built ventilation system to pump air. The decision was made this morning due to the deteriorating conditions below the surface and the high increases in methane concentration. One and a half days have now passed since the start of the rescue operation in the Pniówek mine.
“Without pumping in air, it would be impossible for rescue workers to enter this region. We had to retract people and put in place a separate ventilation system”, said Tomasz Cudny, CEO of JSW and added: “The rescue worker crews are trying to retrieve people with whom we do not currently have any contact. At this time, their safety is of the utmost importance to us”.
The mine rescue workers are roughly 280 meters away from the intersection of the upper gallery and the longwall. The chromatographic line continues to operate under the surface to make it possible to take constant readings of the atmosphere and warn of a concentration of gases that would be hazardous to the rescue worker crews.
“We are currently moving in twenty-meter-long sections along the gallery next to the longwall. The rescue workers are advancing in turns at intervals of under twenty minutes because they must constantly check the atmosphere. They cannot build another section of the ventilation system to bring in fresh air and remove the pent up gases that make it impossible to penetrate the mining roadway next to the longwall until they first measure the gas concentration and the rescue workers make their evaluation”, explained Edward Paździorko, Vice-President of JSW responsible for technical and operational issues.
This morning JSW Management Board members met with the families of the employees who are trapped a kilometer underground. It has still not been possible to reach seven people, including five mine rescue workers.
21 April, 8:30 a.m.
The search for the employees continues
The rescue operation in the Pniówek mine has already been in progress for 32 hours. The rescue workers have still not managed to find the seven missing miners.
For many hours this rescue operation has been run in very challenging conditions. The permissible concentrations of gases are exceeded in the area of the rescue operation, which is hindering the rescue operation to a maximum degree. All night long 13 rescue worker crews outfitted with oxygen tanks toiled intensively to reinstate the atmosphere in the endangered region to achieve safe concentrations of gases. They built a ventilator and a ventilation system of more than 200 meters in length – an installation to pump in clean air. The rescue workers have to build roughly another 500 meters of this ventilation system in sections to aerate gradually and effectively sections of the mining roadway next to longwall N-6 and to be able to continue the search for the employees safely.
To recap. The accident took place a quarter after midnight on longwall N-6 at the 1,000 m level under the surface. Methane probably combusted in the mine twice. One of them was discovered when running the rescue operation and it was the most dangerous. There were 42 employees in total in the endangered area. 25 injured persons are in various hospitals and five employees have died. The families of the victims are receiving psychological care.
20 April, 9:00 p.m.
Twentieth hour of the rescue operation
The rescue operation in the Pniówek mine has now been underway for nearly twenty hours. The rescue workers have still not managed to find the seven missing miners. The rescue operation is taking place in very challenging conditions. Since the permissible concentrations of gases are exceeded in the search area, the rescue workers have been retracted to be able to reenter the area after a few moments and lay down a chromatographic line to monitor the atmosphere constantly. The mining roadway is being aerated on a continuous basis for the concentration of gases to subside to a safe level. When that occurs, the rescue workers will intensify their search for the missing employees. Thus far, the deaths of five employees have been confirmed. Four of them died at their work stations and one of them died at the hospital in Siemianowice Śląskie. Nine employees are in severe condition in the burn ward in Siemianowice. Eleven employees have been transported to various hospitals in Silesia. The families of the injured persons have been notified and are under psychological care. Some of the families have decided to wait for information at the mine. Suitable rooms have been prepared for them so that they can await news about their loved ones on site. The search is for seven employees, including five mine rescue workers. 13 mine rescue crews are taking part in this operation.
20 April, 6:30 p.m.
The challenging rescue operation is in progress
The search for seven miners continues in the region surrounding longwall N-6 at the 1,000 m level. The mine rescue workers started to penetrate gallery N-11 next to the longwall; however, on account of the difficult conditions underground caused by the permissible concentrations of gases being exceeded, the head of the rescue operation decided to retract them until the chromatographic line is extended closer to longwall N-6 to take continuous readings of gas concentrations. The rescue workers are taking actions to facilitate further safe inroads by the crews into the mining roadway to reach the injured persons.
The accident occurred today at 12:15 a.m. on longwall N-6 at the 1,000 m level underground. There were two combustions in the mine. One of them was discovered during the rescue operation and it was the most dangerous. There were 42 employees in total in the endangered region. 25 injured persons are in the hospital and five employees have died. Psychological care is being provided to the families of the victims.
20 April 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Search continues for seven miners
Rescue workers have reached yet another, fifth victim of the mining disaster in the Pniówek mine. Condolences to the families of the tragically deceased workers were expressed by Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who came to Pawłowice today.
“A great misfortune happened. Rescuers always say beautifully that they set out to get living people out and you always have to try to reach these people as quickly as possible, but the situation is really very, very difficult," said Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s Prime Minister. “We extend our thoughts and prayers to the families of the deceased. I extend my sincerest condolences to the families and to those who still have hope, because there has to be hope. All of Poland is with you in our thoughts and deepest sympathies," added the Prime Minister.
The rescue workers have finished refilling the stone dust barrier protecting the area of the operation from a methane explosion. They are currently continuing their search for seven workers.
“This terrible tragedy in the Pniówek mine shows that a miner's work involves not only a hard toil, but also a huge risk of exposure to danger. Let's think about that as well, because miners work hard for us, for Poles," said Mateusz Morawiecki.
The accident occurred at 0:15 am, at longwall N-6, 1,000 meters underground. There were two ignitions in the mine. One was identified during the rescue operation and this one was the most dangerous. A total of 42 workers were in the affected area. Twenty-five of the injured are in hospitals; five workers are dead. The families of the victims received psychological care.
20 April 2022, 11:00 a.m.
Four miners are dead
One of the miners injured in the methane explosion in the Pniówek mine has died in hospital. This is the fourth fatality of the mining disaster. The rescue operation is underway. Currently the rescue workers are filling up the explosion prevention barrier securing the area of the operation.
20 April 2022, 9:00 a.m.
The rescue operation has been temporarily suspended
The tragic toll of a probable methane explosion in the Pniówek mine in Pawłowice has risen to three casualties. The rescue operation has been temporarily suspended until the stone dust barrier protecting the rescue base from a methane explosion is rebuilt.
The command centre is developing the further course of the rescue operation. The accident occurred at longwall N-6, at the level of 1,000 meters, at 0.15 am. A total of 42 workers were in the affected area, 21 of whom are already in hospitals. Thirteen rescue teams are involved in the operation. The rescue command center includes representatives of the JSW Management Board and the District and State Mining Authority. The families of the injured miners were provided with psychological care.
20 April 2022, 7:00 a.m.
Two fatalities in the Pniówek mine. A rescue operation is underway
A quarter past midnight in the Pniówek mine in Pawłowice Śląskie there was probably a methane explosion as a result of which 12 people were injured. All of them have been transported to hospitals. Two people are dead and eight people are still missing.
The accident occurred at longwall N-6, 1,000 meters underground. A total of 42 workers were in the affected area. Most likely two consecutive methane explosions occurred in the mine.
Thirteen rescue teams are involved in the operation. The rescue command center includes representatives of the JSW Management Board and the District and State Mining Authority. The families of the injured miners were provided with psychological care.