Bulgaria's Govt Vows Justice after Deadly Collapse in MineBusiness | July 21, 2013, Sunday // 12:57| views
Rescue teams are still searching for two workers who were trapped after a coal mine collapsed near the town of Simitli in southwestern Bulgaria on Tuesday. Photo by Monitor daily
Bulgaria’s energy minister has vowed to bring to justice those guilty for the deadly accident in a coal mine in southern part of the country.
"I will not allow this deadly accident to turn into a cold case. Some people think that the times have not changed and they are untouchable. Some people believe that the case will be brushed under the carpet,” Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev told the national radio BNR on Sunday.
“I can assure you that from now on my main task and the task of the government is to finally impose rules and order in this country. These rules must be respected by both the state and all employers. It is unacceptable for employers to behave as if their workers are slaves.”
Rescue workers are searching for the sixth day in a row for the two workers who were trapped after a coal mine collapsed near the town of Simitli in southwestern Bulgaria on Tuesday.
The Chief of the Regional Police Directorate in the southwestern city of Blagoevgrad, Commissar Georgi Kostov, says crisis headquarters have been set up and the rescue teams rotate so that the search effort could be conducted round-the-clock.
The collapse in the coal mine happened around 9:30 am Tuesday.
Two miners, Asen Stoynev, 41, and Hristo Mladenov, 45, died in the collapse.
Ivan Lazarov, 35, and Nikolay Mihaylov, 42, remain trapped 450 meters below the surface underneath an avalanche of mud, rocks and water.
On Friday, the concessionaire of the Oranovo coal mine, Krasimir Mihaylov, was interrogated in the 2nd Police Precinct in Blagoevgrad where he turned himself in hours after the Prosecutor's Office issued a search warrant for him.
He appeared in the police precinct with a lawyer and bodyguard.
Mihaylov said that in the last 8 years he suffered losses in the amount of BGN 5 M and was ready to give the mine as a gift to Economy and Energy Minister, Dragomir Stoynev, who blamed "wild capitalism" for the tragedy.
He pledged BGN 50 000 to the families of the dead miners.
Mihaylov, whose whereabouts were unknown since Tuesday, explained his absence with not wanting to go to the mine over fears it will be interpreted as black PR.
The Oranovo mine is located near the town of Simitli. This is the fourth major accident there in the past eight years. Union leaders said the reason for the collapse was poor safety standards.
Miners and their families are keeping silent about the work conditions, which many see as fear of losing their jobs.
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