Dozens killed in Siberia after coal mine explosion | Russia

A devastating explosion at a Siberian coal mine, Thursday, killed 52 miners and rescuers about 250 meters underground, Russian officials said.

Hours after a methane gas explosion led to a fire that filled the mine with toxic fumes, rescuers found 14 bodies but then had to halt the search for 38 others due to a buildup of methane and carbon monoxide from the flames. A total of 239 people were rescued.

TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies quoted emergency officials as saying that there was no chance of finding more survivors at the Listvaiznaya mine in the Kemerovo region of southwest Siberia.

The Interfax news agency quoted a representative of the regional administration as saying that the death toll had reached 52, saying that they died due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

This was the deadliest mine incident in Russia since 2010, when two methane explosions and a fire killed 91 people at the Raspadskaya mine, also in the Kemerovo region.

A total of 285 people were at the Listvaiznaya mine in the early hours of Thursday morning when the explosion released smoke that quickly filled the mine through the ventilation system. Rescuers led to the rooftop 239 workers, 49 of whom were injured, and found 11 bodies.

News reports said six rescuers died later in the day while searching for others trapped in a remote area of ​​the mine. Regional officials declared three days of mourning.

Russia’s Deputy Prosecutor General, Dmitry Demshin, told reporters that the fire was most likely caused by a methane explosion caused by a spark.

Miners who survived describe their shock after reaching the surface. Air. Dust. One of the rescued miners, Sergei Golubin, said in televised remarks, “Then we smelled the gas and just started getting out, as best we could.” “We didn’t even realize what happened at first and took some gas.”

Another miner, Rustam Chipelkov, recalled the dramatic moment when he and his comrades were rescued when chaos swept over the mine. “I was crawling and then I felt they were holding me,” he said.

“I extended my arms to them, they could not see me, the vision was bad. They caught me and took me out, if not for them we would be dead.”

Explosions of methane from coal seams during mining are rare, but they cause the greatest number of deaths in the coal mining industry.

Interfax news agency reported that miners have an oxygen supply that typically lasts for six hours and can only be extended for a few more hours.

The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into the fire for violations of safety regulations that led to the deaths. It added that the mine manager and two senior managers had been arrested.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to the families of the dead and ordered the government to provide all necessary assistance to the injured.

Thursday’s fire was not the first fatal accident at the Listvyazhnaya mine. In 2004, a methane gas explosion killed 13 workers. In 2007, a methane gas explosion at the Ulyanovskaya mine in the Kemerovo region killed 110 miners in the deadliest mine accident since Soviet times.

In 2016, 36 miners were killed in a series of methane gas explosions at a coal mine in Russia’s far north. In the wake of the accident, authorities analyzed the safety of 58 coal mines in the country and declared 20 of them, or 34%, to be unsafe.

According to media reports, Listvyazhnaya mine was not among them at that time.

The Russian State Supervisory Authority for Technology and Environment, Rostekhnadzor, inspected the mine in April and recorded 139 violations, including violations of fire safety regulations.

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