Russia’s coal mine fire kills 11, dozens captured

MOSCOW – A fire in a coal mine in Russian Siberia killed 11 people and injured more than 40 others on Thursday, with dozens of others still trapped, authorities said.



Efforts to rescue those trapped in the mine were halted on Thursday afternoon due to an explosion threat, and rescuers rushed out of the mine, the mine’s administrators told the Interfax news agency.

The fire occurred in the Kemerovo region of southwestern Siberia. Russia’s state news agency Tass reported, citing an unnamed rescue official, that coal dust caught fire and that smoke quickly filled the Litsvyazhnaya mine through the ventilation system.



A total of 285 people were in the mine at the time of the incident – 239 of them have been evacuated and 46 other miners are still trapped underground, says Kemerovo’s governor Sergei Tsivilyov on his page on the Telegram messaging app.

“Forty-three people have been taken to hospital with injuries, four of them in serious condition,” says Tsiviljov.



Kemerovo Governor Sergei Tsivilyov said 239 of the 285 people had been evacuated from the mine.
Kemerovo Governor Sergei Tsivilyov said 239 of the 285 people had been evacuated from the mine.
AP

Earlier Thursday, Russia’s acting emergency minister, Alexander Chupriyan, said 44 miners had been taken to hospital with injuries. The difference in claims duties reported by different officials could not be reconciled immediately.

Russia’s investigative committee has launched a criminal investigation into the fire, which is accused of violating security regulations that led to deaths.



President Vladimir Putin on Thursday expressed his condolences to the families of the dead miners and ordered the government to offer all necessary assistance to the injured, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

An explosion threat forced to stop the rescue efforts on Thursday afternoon.
An explosion threat forced to stop the rescue efforts on Thursday afternoon.
AP

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

The Listvyazhnaya mine in the Kemerovo region was not among them at the time, according to media reports.

The most recent inspection of the mine took place on November 19, Interfax reported, referring to officials from Rostekhnadzor, Russia’s state technology and ecology watchdog. The report did not provide any details on the outcome of the inspection.

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