According to the Russian Ministry of Emergency, at 20.55 on Saturday a methane explosion occurred while 359 miners were underground. Rescuers managed to get 276 people to the surface, although 12 people were killed and a further 59 injured in the first explosion.
Unfortunately there was a second explosion at 01.25 on Sunday and the explosion trapped 64 miners and 19 rescuers underground. The second explosion was so powerful it destroyed buildings on the surface of the mine and blocked the mine’s main ventilation shaft. According to Aman Tuleyev, the Governor of Siberia, speaking yesterday, “The rescue work will continue when the atmosphere in the mine is restored, but to conduct rescue work now means to send people to their death.”
According to the Ministry of Emergency Operations, there are now more than 500 emergency workers who are attempting to restore the ventilation systems in the mine and rebuild mine shafts destroyed by the explosions, so that the search can continue for those still trapped underground.
Currently, there has been no news on what caused the explosion, but industrial accidents are fairly common in the former Soviet republics, largely due to inadequate implementation of safety precautions by companies and workers. In December, nine people died in an explosion at an iron ore mine in the Urals after explosives were not transported properly and 110 miners were killed in an accident in 2007 at a mine in Kemerova.
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