Eight killed as coal mine shaft in Serbia collapses – report

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BELGRADE, April 1 (Reuters) – At least eight miners were killed and about 20 were injured on Friday when a shaft collapsed in a state-owned coal mine in southern Serbia, RTS state television reported.

Rescuers were trying to determine how many miners were trapped in the shaft, the broadcaster said, quoting health authorities in the southern town of Aleksinac, 200 km (125 miles) from Belgrade.

Goran Vidic, head of the local hospital, was quoted as saying all non-essential surgery had been cancelled and some patients had been discharged to make room for casualties.

“The situation here is difficult, relatives are here, people are upset,” Vidic said.

There were 49 miners on the rota at the time of the accident, most of them from Aleksinac, RTS said.

The Aleksinac coal mine is prone to methane saturation and in November 1989 some 90 miners died in an explosion there.

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