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[WARSAW] Rescuers were searching on Wednesday for six missing miners after an earth tremor struck a copper mine in southwestern Poland, killing two, the mine's operator KGHM said.
Nine people working in the Rudna copper mine have sustained spinal and head injuries and five were still in hospital, KGHM's chief executive Radoslaw Domagalski-Labedzki told a news conference.
The mine is one of the largest copper mines in Europe and has been in operation since 1974.
"The rescue operation is taking place without a pause," he said. "We all have big hopes that the news will be positive. This does not change the fact that the rescue operation is taking place in difficult conditions," he said.
Mr Domagalski said two miners, aged 33 and 47 years, were killed as a result of the tremor and their families have already been informed. One of the miners died after he was taken to the surface, the company said.
KGHM said the tremor that took place at 2009 GMT on Tuesday was very strong and caused extensive damage. The epicentre of the tremor was situated 1500 metres below the surface and had a magnitude of 3.4, state news agency PAP reported.
Rescuers said they could see two of the missing miners, but were unable to confirm whether they were alive.
"We can see the hand of one of the miners and the torso of the other from a distance of two metres," said Pawel Markowski, the mine's director.
Government's spokesman Rafal Bochenek said Prime Minister Beata Szydlo was heading to the mine on Wednesday.