TREMONT, Pa. (AP) -- An accident, possibly an explosion, at a Schuylkill County coal mine Monday killed one person, but five other miners escaped, authorities said.
The accident happened 2,300 feet underground at an R & amp;D Coal Co. anthracite mine in Tremont Township, about 80 miles northwest of Philadelphia, said Mark Carmon, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection.
"We have one miner dead, and five other miners who got out safely," he said from the scene.
State and federal investigators were looking into the cause, but the accident knocked out the mine's ventilation system, making it too dangerous for them to go down into the mine shaft. Officials hoped to restore the ventilation system by today so they could get a firsthand look at the damage.
State police in Schuylkill Haven said earlier Monday that there had been an explosion at the Buck Mountain Slope Mine. But Carmon refused to characterize the accident, saying it was too early to say for sure what happened.
"Given the fact that the inspection underground was of limited duration due to the safety issues in the mine, we can't really conclude one way or another whether it was a collapse or an explosion," Carmon said.
The five miners who escaped, including the foreman, were being interviewed, he said.
A June inspection of the mine turned up no violations, while an August inspection found brush surrounding an exhaust fan that was cleared while the inspector was on site, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
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