Eighteen miners were killed and 35 injured when an explosion at more than 2,000 feet underground rocked the Sainte Fontaine coal mine at Merlebach.
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Background: Eighteen miners were killed and 35 injured when an explosion at more than 2,000 feet underground rocked the Sainte Fontaine coal mine at Merlebach.
Rescuers worked incessantly bringing out the dead and injured. The more seriously hurt were flown by police helicopter to a local hospital.
Forty miners who were temporarily trapped under debris reached the surface safely. One man was still missing.
Gas detection specialists were in the mine at the time of the explosion supervising sealing-off operations at one section the coal face where firedamp and poisonous carbon monoxide had been reported.
This was the third fatal explosion in the Lorraine coalfield this year, but the Sainte Fontaine pit itself had not had a serious accident for over fifty years.