Three dead, five missing after Poland copper mine collapse

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Pawel Markowski said a doctor confirmed the death of a miner who rescuers reached on Wednesday morning.

He said the rescuers could also see another of the missing miners but have no contact with him and do not know what condition he is in.

The collapse happened following an earthquake shortly after 9pm local time on Tuesday, some 3,610ft (1,100m) underground in the Rudna mine in Polkowice.

Jolanta Piatek, spokeswoman for the KGHM Polska Miedz, or Polish Copper, mining corporation, said rescuers found one body underground earlier and one of nine miners brought to the surface shortly after the cave-in had also died.

Five others have been taken to hospital, while nine rescue teams continue the search for those still missing.

The rescuers are receiving signals from the locators of the missing miners, but have had no direct contact with them.

The German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, near Berlin, reported a magnitude-4.5 shallow earthquake in the Polkowice region at the time of the cave-in.

Work continues as usual in other areas of the mine, Ms Piatek added.

Known as the Polish State Mining and Metallurgical Combine under socialism, KGHM experienced rebuilding and fractional privatization in 1991 as Poland moved to a market economy. 

It has become one of the world's real copper and silver makers, furthermore has mines in Chile, Canada and the United States.