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Rescue operation in Pniówek

Today, another stage of the search operation for 7 missing miners began in the Pniówek mine.

photos: Dawid Lach

The rescue operation consists of connecting the newly excavated pit - ramp N-9 (parallel to longwall N-6) with the top gallery N-12, near the location where 5 of the 7 missing miners are believed to be.

However, before the two workings are connected, rescue workers will begin ventilating the workings through specially drilled holes in the N-9 ramp mine face.

Once the atmosphere is safe for the operation, rescuers will begin work to connect the two workings. There are still five meters left to connect them. The work will be carried out with a roadheader or by hand, depending on conditions.

Once the intersection is built, rescue workers will begin penetrating a section of the N-12 top gallery and then the N-6 longwall to find and transport out the missing miners.

If it turns out that the conditions in the longwall do not allow safe operation and passage of the entire N-6 longwall, the rescue workers will withdraw, after which the longwall area will be sealed off again.

 In order to reach the location of the two missing miners, an additional cross-cut (one or two) will be excavated from the N-9 ramp to longwall N-6. It may take about a month to drill the cross-cut and prepare for the next operation.   


The Pniówek mine disaster occurred on 20 April 2022 in longwall N-6, seam 404/4+405/1, 1,000 meters underground, where a quarter past midnight a methane explosion occurred. There were 42 workers in the danger zone. During the operation, 39 workers managed to be evacuated. After 3:00 a.m., a second methane explosion occurred. Seven workers, including a rescue squad, remained in the affected area. A day later, there was another methane explosion. The manager of the rescue operation decided to temporarily seal off the N-6 longwall area, seam 404/4+405/1, with isolation stoppings. The operation was discontinued on 2 May.  Of the 10 miners who were taken to the Burn Treatment Center in Siemianowice Śląskie, 5 were in serious condition. In the following days, 5 of the hospitalized miners died. In all, 9 miners lost their lives as a result of the methane explosions, and 7 are still believed to be missing. 30 people were injured.


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