Russian Mine Blast Kills Dozens, Among Them Rescuers

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Russian officials said the accumulation of gas and an explosion in a Siberian coal mine on Thursday killed at least 52 people, including six rescuers.

The accident occurred early in the morning at the Listvyazhnaya mine in the Kemerovo region of Russia, about 2,200 miles east of Moscow, after a ventilation shaft began to fill with gas. This was reported by the Investigative Committee

Rescue efforts at the mine, which plunges 1,300 feet into the ground, continued throughout the day, although the death toll continued to rise. Initially reported missing, miners were gradually carried over to the death toll until late Thursday, when authorities said they were forced to suspend rescue operations due to high concentrations of methane in the mine.

Russian news agency Interfax reported that there appeared to be no hope of finding anyone else alive.

At least some of those killed were suffocated workers. Others may have fallen into the trap.

The country’s deputy prosecutor general told Interfax that the methane explosion likely prevented the miners from getting out.

One of the miners, Mikhail Pozdnyakov, told the First Channel of Russia’s national television company that he heard a “loud bang” and that “after that he“ saw nothing ”.

“Everything was filled with dust and ash, and whoever fell to the ground,” – Mr. Pozdnyakov. said from the hospital. “Seven people came out with me and five stayed there.”

Coal mine accidents have been common in Russia since Soviet times, with some associated with irregular regulatory compliance.

This year alone, several government agencies have checked the Listvyazhnaya mine dozens of times. They found hundreds of violations, imposed fines and even ordered work to be suspended, Russian technology oversight said in the statement.

But the mine was opened for work on Thursday, and by the end of the day, dozens of people had died.

The Investigative Committee said that it had opened a criminal case over the disaster and had already arrested the director of the mine, his deputy and the head of the mine section where the incident occurred.

More than half of the coal in Russia is mined in the Kemerovo Region. It has also been the site of some of the worst mining accidents.

In 2007 explosion at the Ulyanovskaya mine more than 100 people died. In 2010, over 90 were killed in two explosions at the Raskadskaya mine. In 2004, 13 miners were killed in the same mine where the explosion occurred on Thursday.

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