Russian coal mine accident kills 52



The fire left dozens of workers trapped. Authorities say 239 people managed to escape.

Photo: VIKTOR DRACHEV / AFP / Getty Images

Listed as the worst mining disaster in Russia in the last ten years, a fire in a coal mine in Siberia left at least 52 people, according to the first reports.

According to local media, the tragedy originated from the methane gas explosion and a subsequent fire that filled the mine with toxic gases.

Given the situation, 19 rescue teams participated in the rescue efforts, reported Kemerovo Governor Sergei Tsiviliov, who stressed that the operation used “all the resources available to the region.”

The politician explained that at the time of the accident there were 285 people inside the Listvyazhnaya mine, in the city of Gramoteino, where numerous coal deposits are located.

During the operations three rescuers lost their lives. From the first hour it was assumed that the miners had died, since the oxygen supply was very limited, assuming that they had managed to survive the initial explosion.

A total of 239 workers were able to be evacuated, 49 people had been taken to the hospital with injuries. Some of the injured had inhaled toxic smoke and four of them were in critical condition.

At least three people, including the mine manager, were reportedly arrested for security breaches.

In the face of tragedy, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed hope that as many people as possible could be rescued alive.

“Unfortunately, the situation does not get any easier. And there is danger to the lives of the rescuers. The necessary decisions are being made on the ground, ”Putin said in a meeting with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic.

The president also said that a commission will be created to investigate the causes and circumstances of the tragedy. In the same vein, the Prime Minister, Mijail Mishustin, expressed himself: “The circumstances of the event will be thoroughly investigated. All those affected by this tragedy will receive the necessary medical, psychological and other assistance, ”he said.

It is the worst mining accident in Russia since 2010, when two methane explosions and a fire left 91 dead at the Raspadskaya mine, also in the Kemerovo region.

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