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Rescue operation in Zofiówka

End of the rescue operation

At 3:50 p.m., after completing the work to secure the mining roadways in the region affected by the shock wave, the Head of the Mine Section ended the rescue operation in gallery D4a above the longwall.

 


27 April 2022, 12:00 p.m.

A team of specialists is at work

Following the completion of the first stage of the rescue operation involving the search for injured persons and their transportation, an extended team including specialists has been formed. This team will specify the conditions for terminating the rescue operation and the conditions for the safe conduct of an inspection of the mining roadway where the shock wave occurred. Work in the mining roadways located in surrounding areas has been suspended until the Commission appointed by the President of the Central Mining Authority (WUG) to investigate the causes of this accident completes its work. Only the work required to maintain the functionality of mining roadways will be done in this region, i.e. checking the status of mining roadways to measure methane and dust content and pump water out of those places facing flood risk.

 


27 April 2022, 7:30 a.m.

The search operation in Zofiówka has ended

The final miner has been transported to the surface. The four-day-long search operation in the Zofiówka Section of the Borynia-Zofiówka mine has ended. 10 miners have died as a result of the shock wave. Three of them were employees of an external company called Zakład Odmetanowania Kopalń.

The shock wave with energy of 4x10⁶ J combined with an intensive methane discharge took place on mine face D-4a on Saturday morning at 3:40 a.m. at the 900 m level. This event took place while tunneling the mining roadway and drilling long blastholes.

There were 52 employees in the region of the accident. 42 of them exited the region on their own. Contact was lost with 10 employees. Four miners were transported to the surface on Sunday; another two were found on Monday 156 meters from the mine face. The last four miners were found in a flooded area roughly 50 meters from the mine face.

To penetrate this region the rescue workers first had to pump out water from the flooded area using compressed air pumps. On account of the unabated methane risk, the rescue workers could not use more efficient electric pumps. In addition, to aerate the region of the accident, it was necessary to repair the ventilation system that had been damaged due to the shock wave. In total, 114 rescue crews participated in the rescue operation.

 

Information for journalists:

A press conference is scheduled to take place in front of the Zofiówka mine between 1 and 2 p.m.

 


26 April 2022, 9:00 p.m.

All of the miners have been found

At the 90-hour mark of the rescue operation, the rescue workers have found all of the missing miners with whom contact was lost following the shock wave that took place in gallery D4a on Saturday morning. The last four miners were found in the flooded area close to the mine face. Three injured miners are now being transported to the surface. The rescue workers are extracting the fourth miner from the flooded area from under the belt conveyor.

Let’s recap. A shock wave with energy of 4x10⁶ J combined with an intensive methane discharge took place at 3:40 a.m. on Saturday, April 23 in gallery D4a at the 900 m level of the Zofiówka Section in the Borynia-Zofiówka mine. There were 52 miners in the region of the accident, and 42 of them exited the region on their own.

 


26 April 2022, 6:00 p.m.

Two miners are being transported to the rescue base

The 87th hour of the rescue operation is drawing to an end. Rescue workers have extracted two of the four injured miners from the flooded area in gallery D4a. These two miners are currently being transported by the rescue crews to the rescue base. Another crew has begun to free up the last two injured miners from under the structure of the belt conveyor which is in the flooded area. Air pumps are still being used to drain the flooded area.

 


26 April 2022, 3:00 p.m.

Another miner found

After lowering the surface of the water by roughly half a meter, the rescue workers reached another one of the missing miners in gallery D-4a. The process of draining the water is ongoing. After reconfiguring the pumps, even though the water level remains high, the miners being looked for were found with the use of miner location transponders. The rescue crew has begun the work to release the first miner from under the structure of the belt conveyor and then transport him from the flooded area to the surface. 

 


26 April 2022, 12:00 p.m.

The water table is dropping

Rescue workers continue to pump out water from the inundated area near the face of the D4a roadway. So far they have pumped out 40 cm of water. If the water table drops below 70 cm, rescue workers will attempt to search the areas indicated by the locator of the lamp sensors of the four miners yesterday. Thirteen rescue teams are involved in the operation.

 


26 April 2022, 7:00 a.m.

Water pumping in progress

During the night, despite the inundation, rescue workers added another section of the ventilation pipeline and began pumping water out of the inundated area in the D4a roadway, where signals from the lamps of the four missing miners were located yesterday evening. During the night, two pumps were transported to the inundated area. The first pump was started at 3:30 a.m. and the second at 6:00 a.m. Earlier on, the rescue workers confirmed the management team's presumptions regarding the depth of the inundation, which is more than 1.5 meters. While the water table is being lowered, attempts will continue to be made to search for the missing miners.

 


25 April 2022, 10:00 p.m.

Miners' lamps have been located

Rescue workers located the lamps of the four miners they were looking for. The locator indicated that the miners' lamps were in an inundated area, twelve to fifteen meters from the last installed ventilation pipe, 56 meters from the mine face.

In order to reach the miners, however, rescue workers must pump out enough water from the inundated area to be able to penetrate the area indicated by the locator. The rescue workers are brining two heavy-duty compressed air powered pumps into the flooded area. Thirteen rescue teams are involved in the operation.

 


25 April 2022, 6:00 p.m.

Rescue workers are not slowing down

The rescue operation in the Zofiówka mine is now in its third day; rescue workers are still looking for 4 missing miners. Rescuers have already penetrated more than a kilometer of the working where the shock wave occurred. They have the last section of about 70 meters to the mine face to cover. Methane concentration has decreased and air temperature is decreasing as the working is ventilated. The rescue workers had to face another obstacle - an inundated area. Engineers at the operation management team estimate that its depth is about 1.5 meters and its volume may reach 500 cubic meters. Rescue workers mounted another ten-meter ventilation pipe over the inundated area, the operation manager decided to penetrate the inundated working in the so-called waders, allowing the workers to go deeper.

 

 


25 April 2022, 3:00 p.m.

Difficult rescue operation

The rescue workers have roughly 80 meters to go to reach the mine face. They have entered the most difficult section of the gallery that was located the closest to the center of the shock wave. The rescue workers have found a local flooded area. 

The atmosphere in the mining roadway near the end of the ventilation system continues to be unfavorable. The high temperature and the high methane concentrations are slowing down the pace of the rescue operation. At present, rescue workers are transporting ten-meter-long sections of ventilation pipe with a diameter of 800 mm to be used as another extension in the direction of the working face and to reinstate an atmosphere fit for breathing purposes while simultaneously reducing the temperature and diluting the amassed methane. While extending the ventilation system, the rescue workers are simultaneously looking for the missing miners. Thus far, more than one kilometer of the mining roadway has been aerated using a separate ventilation system.

In this final section the incoming rescue crews will be outfitted with a device to locate the VHF sensors built in the missing miners’ cap lamps.

 


25 April 2022, 1:00 p.m.

Six victims due to the shock wave

156 meters from the mine face, the rescue workers found another two miners with whom contact was lost during the shock wave that took place on Saturday morning. After transporting the miners to the rescue operation base, the physician working there declared the death of both employees. The tragic outcome due to the shock wave in the mine has grown to 6 fatalities. The rescue workers continue to look for 4 miners.

Rescue crews in oxygen tanks are still working on reestablishing a separate ventilation system whereby the atmosphere in the mining roadway would allow for the search for the miners to continue. Rescue workers have roughly 85 meters to go to reach the mine face.

 


24 April 2022, 3:00 p.m.

Four fatalities due to the shock wave

A physician has declared the deaths of another two miners found in gallery D4a. The tragic outcome of yesterday’s shock wave has risen to four persons. 

The rescue workers continue to search for six miners with whom contact was lost after the shock wave. The conditions in the endangered area are challenging. High methane concentrations and the high temperature are effectively slowing down the rescue operation. 

The rescue workers are working in oxygen tanks to reestablish a separate ventilation system whereby the atmosphere in the mining roadway would make it possible to search for the miners more intensively. The rescue workers have approximately 200 meters to go to the mine face.

 


24 April 2022, 10:00 a.m.

A second miner from Zofiówka has died

The rescue workers transported the second miner found from gallery D4a to the rescue base where the physician declared his death. This miner is now being transported to the surface. The next rescue worker crew has gone to retrieve another one of the four miners found 220 meters from the mine face.

The mine rescue workers have not reached the face yet. The atmosphere closer to the mine face is more challenging on account of the temperature and methane concentration. For that reason, the night shift worked on additionally sealing the ventilation system and replacing some of the ventilation pipes.

After the other two miners found are transported back to the base, the rescue workers will begin their efforts to advance along the gallery in the direction of the mine face in their search for the other six employees with whom contact was lost during yesterday’s shock wave.

 


24 April 2022, 0:15 a.m.

First fatality of the shock wave

The rescue workers transported the first of four miners found in gallery D4a some 220 meters away from the mine face. The miner was transported to the rescue base where a physician declared his death. 

Other rescue worker crews continue the work to reestablish ventilation in the mining roadway to transport the other miners who have been found and also to reach the other six employees with whom contact was lost during the shock wave.

 


23 April 2022, 8:30 p.m.

The President of Poland visits Zofiówka

Andrzej Duda, the President of Poland visited the Zofiówka Section in connection with JSW’s second mining catastrophe this week. He met with the JSW Management Board and the mine’s management team.

“I had not expected that I would be here in Jastrzębie-Zdrój again literally within some fifty hours in connection with the occurrence of another catastrophe”, said Andrzej Duda. “The experts explained to me that there is no connection between these two events. Quite simply, this is only a coincidence”, added the President of Poland while remarking that the rescue workers will heroically help until the very end as always in such situations.  

President Duda spent a lot of time with the rescue operation management team. He also lit a cemetery candle in front of the plaque in the mine’s pithead building to commemorate miners who have died tragically.

“Once again, I would like to extend my words of compassion to all of the people whose loved ones perished here in the last few days in Pniówek and Zofiówka because this is a tragic situation. This spring has been very hard on our mining sector and on all of us. Unfortunately, these types of accidents happen in the mining sector. All miners are familiar with the risk and that this risk is not at all insignificant. Unfortunately, that is the specific nature of this demanding job”, said Andrzej Duda.

 


23 April 2022, 6:00 p.m.

Rescue workers have reached some of the miners

The rescue workers have reached four missing miners with whom contact was lost after the shock wave in gallery D4a. The mine rescue crew found four injured miners roughly 220 meters away from the mine face. However, the rescue workers had to withdraw because their oxygen tanks were running out of oxygen.

The head of the rescue operation will make the decision for the next crews to transport the miners to the base where a physician waits.

 


23 April 2022, 5:00 p.m.

Rescue workers are getting closer to the missing

Roughly 300 meters separate the rescue workers from the mine face. The situation is challenging. The rescue operation team and the rescue workers are doing everything to reach the 10 miners with whom there is currently no contact. 

“We are 360 meters away from the mine face. Let’s remember that the crews work for a specific amount of time measured from the moment they leave the base. Depending on the conditions, this means two hours of work in a crew. After that, the appropriate amount of oxygen has to be supplied to pull them out safely from the place where there is a fresh stream of flowing air”, explained Edward Paździorko, Vice-President of the JSW Management Board responsible for technical and operational matters.

12 rescue crews are taking part in this operation. The information provided by the rescue workers indicates that the mining roadway was not destroyed. As they penetrate the mining roadway the rescue workers are repairing parts of the damaged ventilation system.

“So far the rescue workers have identified five such spots”, said Vice-President Paździorko.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visited the Zofiówka mine this afternoon and pledged assistance to the families of the injured miners.

“The Polish state will not leave abandon the miners’ families. During the previous catastrophe I gave an order to provide the appropriate continuous financial support”, reassured Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s Prime Minister. “We continue to hope that the rescue workers will retrieve them alive. I would ask all Poles to grasp what’s going on here at Zofiówka with their thoughts and prayers”, added the Prime Minister.

 


23 April 2022, 11:00 a.m.

Rescue operation in Zofiówka

600 meters separate the mine rescue workers from the mine face where the 10 missing miners are probably located.

“The rescue operation is underway. The first crew has reached the mining roadway where the shock wave occurred. This operation is challenging on account of the atmosphere in the entire mining roadway. However, there are no indications pointing to combustion or fire”, says Tomasz Cudny, CEO of JSW.

The rescue operation focusing on reestablishing a separate path of ventilation, airing out the mining roadway and reaching the miners is underway.

“The first crew is advancing along this mining roadway in the direction of the mine face. The gallery is 1,160 meters in length, and they are presently on the 520nd meter. Along the way, the methane concentration is high. For that reason, they must enter gradually and improve the ventilation system. During the shock wave the ventilation system was probably dislodged in several places and depressurized. We increased the pressure in the compressed air pipes to push air towards the mine face. The second crew is the backup crew. The third crew has left the base, and nine crews are at the base. We still have more than 600 meters to go to get to the mine face”, said Edward Paździorko, Vice-President of the JSW Management Board responsible for technical and operational matters.

Marcin Gołębiowski, the HR Director in the Borynia-Zofiówka mine met with the families of the miners who are underground.

“The families of all of the injured families have been notified. Many of these family members are at the mine and waiting for information. Psychological and medical care is being given to all of them. This is hard on all of us, and we are praying that we will quickly reach our colleagues”, said Director Gołębiowski.

A shock wave with energy of 4x10⁶ Joules combined with an intensive methane discharge took place in the Zofiówka Section of the Borynia-Zofiówka mine on mine face D-4a. There were 52 employees in the region of the accident. 42 of them exited the area on their own. There is no contact with ten of them. This event took place at 3:40 a.m. on the 900 m level while tunneling in the mining roadway and drilling long blastholes.

 


23 April 2022, 7:00 a.m.

Shock wave in Zofiówka

A shock wave combined with an intensive methane discharge took place in the Zofiówka Section of the Borynia-Zofiówka mine in the D4a face at the 900 m level.

The rescue operation team does not have any contact with ten employees. There were 52 employees in the region of the accident. 42 of them exited the area on their own. This event took place on Saturday at 3:40 a.m. The rescue operation is underway.

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