Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A methane gas explosion has killed at least 13 coal mine workers in the Czech Republic, the state-run mining company said.
The blast happened Thursday near the town of Karvina, about 185 miles east of Prague.
Several miners were injured in the explosion, which occurred about 2,600 feet underground, OKD company spokesman Ivo Celechovsky said.
The majority of the victims, 11, were Polish nationals provided by the ALPEX company. Leaders of both Poland and the Czech Republic are expected to arrive Friday.
OKD Managing Director Boleslav Kowalczyk said the search had to be abandoned.
"Unfortunately, we have reached a point where it was impossible to move forward because there was a fire raging and zero visibility," Kowalczyk said.
This is the worst mining accident in the Czech Republic since 1990, when 30 miners died in a fire, also near Karvina.