Spain's worst mining accident in 18 years leaves 6 dead

Leon, Spain, Oct 28 (EFE).- Six miners ranging in age from 35 to 41 died Monday after an apparent leak of methane gas at a coal mine in northern Spain's Leon region.

Five other miners were injured, including one who was airlifted to a hospital in Leon city, where he is listed in serious condition.

The gas leak at the Pozo Emilio del Valle mine in Pola de Gordon was Spain's deadliest mining accident since 1995.

The mine is operated by financially troubled Hullera Vasco-Leonesa, which blamed the deaths and injuries on a "sudden" escape of flammable gas.

Amid the first responders, families and friends of the miners gathered at the scene to await news of the fate of their loved ones.

"They were good miners and very good people," said miners union representative Marco Antonio Martinez, who knew the victims personally.

Recent Pozo Emilio retiree Javier Gallego said his former colleagues told him the dead and injured miners were overcome after breaching a pocket of gas.

Spain's industry minister, Jose Manuel Soria, was on his way to the mine late Monday.