Bulgarian Coal Mine Rescuers Advance by 7 M in 24 H

Society | July 21, 2013, Sunday // 16:25|  views

An anonymous source has sent pictures to Bulgaria media, showing the son of a concessionaire, whose mine is known for deplorable conditions, leading a lavish lifestyle abroad. Photo by pravda.bg

The rescue teams searching for the 6th day in a row for two trapped miners in southwestern Bulgaria have advanced by seven meters in the last 24 hours.

Since the beginning of the effort until 10 am Sunday, a total of 34 meters have been excavated and 28 meters remain.

The Blagoevgrad Regional Governor, Musa Palev, has given very high marks to the work of the rescue teams.

The collapse in the Oranovo coal mine near the town of Simitli in southwestern Bulgaria 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.

The rescuers still hope for survival because there is a possibility that the two could have found shelter in some side "pockets."

Palev says the mud now is not as thick as the beginning of the digging, but no one knows if Ivan and Nikolay have enough water.

The manager of the mine has gone inside around 9:30 am.

Stansilav Tassev, nephew and business partner of the mine's concessionaire, Krasimir Mihaylov, has been spotted in the vicinity Sunday morning.

Mihaylov was interrogated Friday 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.

This is the fourth major accident in the Oranovo mine 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.

Stoynev vowed on several occasions to bring to justice those guilty for the deadly accident.

Meanwhile, several Bulgarian media published pictures of Mihaylov's son Krassen leading a lavish life in London and Saint Tropez. The pictures have been leaked anonymously and their authenticity is not yet confirmed.

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Tags: Oranovo, coal, mine, Simitli, collapse, trapped, Dragomir Stoynev, Economy and Energy Minister, concessionaire, rescue, Krasimir Mihaylov


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