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Bulgaria: Miners Blame Management For Accident

Sofia, 2 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - All 28 coalminers involved in yesterday's methane gas explosion at the Bobov Dol mine southwest of the Bulgarian capital Sofia are accounted for.

The confirmed number of dead remains unchanged since yesterday at seven.

The Bulgarian news agency BTA today quotes a government report as saying 21 miners have been hospitalized. However a published list shows 22 names.

BTA quotes miners at Bobov Dol as blaming mine director Stanko Kolev for the explosion. They say a chamber adjacent to the explosion site had not been adequately ventilated when Kolev sent in workers after a month-long holiday shutdown.

The National Security Council and a special government commission today are discussing whether the mine should be closed. More than 20 miners have been killed at Bobov Dol in the past eight years.

The head of the Podkrepa trade union, Konstantin Trenchev, told RFE/RL that technological improvements are needed at mines across the country. He says Bulgarian miners are working in what he terms medieval conditions.