Highlights

  • Rescue operations halted due to a build-up of explosive methane gas
  • 239 out of 285 miners rescued from the Siberian coal mine
  • Fire most likely resulted from a methane explosion

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Siberia: 52 miners and rescuers dead in massive coalmine explosion

Siberia coalmine fire: Reports quoted emergency officials as saying that there was no chance of finding any survivors.

 

A massive fire at a Siberian coal mine has killed at least 52 miners and rescuers, Russian news reports have said.

Officials previously said that rescuers found 14 bodies and the search for 38 people missing was halted for safety reasons, because of a build-up of explosive methane gas and a high concentration of toxic fumes from the fire.

Reports quoted emergency officials as saying that there was no chance of finding any survivors.

A total of 285 people were in the Listvyazhnaya mine in the Kemerovo region of southwestern Siberia when a fire erupted. Smoke quickly filled the mine through the ventilation system. Earlier, rescuers led to the surface 239 miners, 49 of whom were injured.

Officials said that the fire most likely resulted from a methane explosion caused by a spark.

Explosions of methane released from coal beds during mining are rare but they cause the most fatalities in the coal mining industry.

Also Watch: ‘Black snow’ sparks health fears in Siberia

The Interfax news agency reported that miners have oxygen supplies normally lasting for six hours that could be stretched for a few more hours but would have expired by late Thursday.

Russia's Investigative Committee has launched a criminal probe into the fire over violations of safety regulations that led to deaths. It said the mine director and two senior managers were detained.

President Vladimir Putin extended his condolences to the families of the dead and ordered the government to offer all necessary assistance to those injured.

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

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