Coal mine accident: Survivor found after methane explosion in Russia
MOSCOW – Rescuers have found a survivor in a Siberian coal mine where dozens of miners are believed to have died after a terrifying methane explosion, a local official announced on Thursday. Six.
Sergei Tsivilyov, governor of the Kemerovo region where the mine is located, said on the messaging app Telegram that a survivor had been found in the Listvyazhnaya mine in southwestern Siberia and “he is being taken to the hospital.”
Acting Emergencies Minister Alexander Chupriyan said the man found in the mine shaft was a rescuer who is presumed dead.
Authorities confirmed 14 deaths on Thursday – 11 miners were found dead and three rescuers later died while searching for others trapped in a remote area of the mine. Six other bodies were found on Friday morning, and 31 people are still missing.
Governor Tsivilyov said finding other survivors at this point was very unlikely.
Hours after a methane explosion and flames emitting toxic fumes on Thursday, rescuers were forced to halt the search because of a build-up of methane and carbon monoxide from the fire. A total of 239 people were rescued from the mines; 63 of them, as of Friday morning, had sought medical assistance, according to Kemerovo officials.
The state news agencies Tass and RIA-Novosti on Thursday cited emergency officials as saying there was no chance of finding any more survivors, and put the death toll on Thursday night at 52. Saving one survivor Friday morning brought that number down to 51.
This appears to be the deadliest landmine accident in Russia since 2010, when two methane explosions and a fire killed 91 people at the Raspadskaya mine in the same Kemerovo region.
In 2016, 36 miners were killed in a series of methane explosions at a coal mine in Russia’s northernmost region. After the incident, authorities analyzed the safety of 58 of the country’s coal mines and declared 20 of them, 34 percent, potentially unsafe.
Regional officials announced three days of mourning. Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into the breach of safety regulations that led to the death. It said the mine director and two senior managers were detained.
On Friday, a further criminal investigation was launched into allegations of negligence by state officials who inspected the mine earlier this month.