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Tunnel Collapse Kills 6, Injures 3 in Georgia’s Mindeli Mine

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, April 6
Six workers died in Mindeli coal mine, Tkibuli, West Georgia as a result of a tunnel collapse on April 5 early in the morning.

Moreover, three miners received injuries and have been transferred to the hospital. According to the doctors, the health condition of the injured is satisfactory.

According to the Interior Ministry, an investigation has been launched into the case under the second part of Article 240 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which implies a violation of safety rules in mining, construction or other works. The offense envisages up to 5 years of imprisonment.

Georgia’s First Vice-Premier and the Minister of Economy, Dimitry Kumsishvili arrived at the site and visited the injured workers in the hospital.

Kumsishvili offered his condolences to the family members of the victims and noted that the state will do everything to help the families.

"I want to express my condolences to the families who have lost their children, brothers, fathers. We will do our best to help the families of the victims", he said.

The Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili also expressed his sorrow over the incident in the Mindeli mine and offers sympathy to the families of the victims. According to him, all relevant services are working to take the bodies of the deceased out of the mine.

"I express my deep sorrow over the death of 6 people in Tkibuli and offer sympathy to their families and relatives. All relevant state services are working to take the bodies of the deceased out of the in the shortest possible time. The injured are being properly treated," reads the statement of the PM.

Meanwhile, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili stressed that Tkibuli accident has once again demonstrated that the efforts of the whole society, including employers and first of all the government, should be directed to stricter control of the enforcement of labor safety rules.

"In this difficult moment, I express my sympathy to the families of the victims. This disaster proves that the situation of labor safety is dramatically hard and unacceptable,” Margvelashvili stated.

According to the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze, amendments have been made to the constitution regarding labor safety and relevant initiatives should be prepared for the improvement of labor standards in Georgia.

"I want to express my sorrow over the death of people in Tkibuli’s Mindeli mine. We are talking about legislation today and it should be noted here again that very sharp measures are to be taken in order to prevent such tragic facts in the future," said the speaker.

Coal obtaining company Saknakhshiri, which carries out works in Mindeli mine, has also made a statement regarding the incident, saying the tragedy did not happen due to the breach of safety norms.

“There was a mining blow that led to the ceiling collapse. The large air pressure was created, three people were injured and six died. I cannot call it the violation of safety norms because it is impossible to predict such things,” Director of Saknakhshiri, Jambul Jakeli stated.

Last year, 5 more workers died in the same mine, 4 od them died due to the failure of the freight elevator.