Austrian investigators say a massive avalanche which caught seventeen Czech skiers in the Austrian Alps on Saturday, was in all likelihood not anyone’s fault but broke away on its own. The skiers were in two groups when the avalanche hit: five lost their lives. The Tirol police spokesman described the avalanche as several hundred metres wide; the tear point where the slab had broken away was reportedly a metre deep. The mountain service has said that avalanche warnings are still in place in areas.
Five Czech skiers have been killed in an avalanche in the Austrian Alps, the AFP news agency reported. A total of 17 Czech skiers were caught in a massive avalanche that struck the Wattener Lizum region, south-east of Innsbruck shortly before midday. Three others were reportedly airlifted to hospital. According to Czech Television the two groups of Czech skiers caught in the avalanche ignored repeated warnings not to set out. High degree avalanche alerts have been in place in the region for several days now.
Czech hard coal miner New World Resources’ OKD unit wants to lay off half of its employees within the next two years. Although the move is not unexpected and the Czech government has been debating ways of softening its social impact, the lay-offs will present a serious problem in a region with a 19.2 percent unemployment rate.
One miner died and another was seriously injured when the Darkov mine in Karviná was hit by a tremor on Tuesday morning. The mine tremor occurred at a depth of 1,150 metres at about 6:30, a spokesman for operators OKD said. A special commission will look into the causes of the accident. Last year four people died in mines owned by OKD, which is the country’s only coal producer.
Government ministers met Thursday with managers of the struggling mining company OKD. Minister of Industry and Trade, Jan Mládek, said after the meeting that it had been agreed that any fundamental steps agreed by company management would have to be approved as well by the company’s creditors. He added that ongoing negotiations would focus on a possible restructuring plan for the company and the sale of the Frenstat mine to the state. Coal at that mine has not been exploited yet. The future of the OKD mines are threatened by low coking coal prices with around 13,000 immediate jobs at stake.
One of the biggest items on the in-tray of Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, Jan Mládek, from last year is the fate of the OKD hard coal mines. At least one of the last handful of deep mines in the counry, Paskov, looks certain to shut down soon and the fate of the whole mining group looks very shaky indeed. The minister will meet with company bosses on Thursday in a bid to chart a future that can safeguard some of the mines and the thousands of jobs at stake.
A Czech transport boat stranded on the Elbe river near Dresden has been freed after water management authorities artificially raised the water level.The 90-metre long boat carrying over 1,000 tons of cargo got stuck on its way to the port of Dečín on Sunday. Why the boat became stranded is not yet clear. According to preliminary reports it was not overloaded.
The Czech government on Monday rejected another bailout package for the ailing mining company OKD. Following talks with trade unions, the cabinet has said it will focus on social programmes to help cushion the impact of the closure of the Paskov deep coal mine and the gradual phasing out of mining in the Moravia-Silesia region.
The Czech government is debating the future of the Paskov mine, one of the last deep coal mines in the country, after its owner OKD announced its possible closure at the end of 2016. The mine is one of the biggest employers in the Moravian-Silesian region and its closure would put 1,800 employees and almost as many more doing business with the mine out of work.
Three miners were injured in tremors that hit the Karvian mine in the night hours, a spokesman for the OKD company told the ctk newsagency. All three miners are hospitalized, but are reported to be out of danger. The tremors from mining activity reportedly caused a landslide in part of the mine. The cause of the accident is being investigated.