Thousands of Bosnians paid their last respects on Monday to five miners killed after an earthquake triggered a collapse at the Raspotocje mine and trapped 34 miners 500 metres below the surface.
In the third serious mining accident this year, a 3.5-magnitude earthquake near the central town of Zenica on Thursday caused rocks in the mine to burst, spewing out rubble that sealed off the miners in an underground passage.
Emergency teams reached the body of the last victim on Sunday night, after digging for 80 hours through tight underground corridors filled with methane.
Miners in working outfits and helmets carried the green-draped coffins of their colleagues for an Islamic prayer led by Bosnia’s chief mufti at Zenica’s main square.
A day of national mourning was declared in Bosnia’s autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation, where the mine is located.
The Raspotocje mine produces coal for Bosnia’s largest power utility, EPBiH, and employs 430 miners. Experts say it is the most dangerous of all Bosnian mines because of frequent rock bursts caused by tremors at its deep underground pits.