Rescue underway as explosion leaves up to 75 coal miners trapped underground in Russia
A major rescue operation is underway after an explosion at a mine in eastern Russia left dozens of miners trapped deep underground and killed at least one.
The blast took place 820ft below the surface at Listvyazhnaya coal mine in Siberia shortly after 9am Thursday, when coal dust in the ventilation ducts caught fire.
At least one person – a 23-year-old – was killed in the explosion with another 43 people suffering injuries from smoke inhalation, including two in serious condition.
But many more are unaccounted for and feared trapped. Amid confusion over the numbers, regional governor Sergei Tsivilev said 49 were missing but other reports put the figure as high as 75.
An explosion deep underground at a coal mine in Russia’s Siberia region has killed at least one miner and left dozens more trapped
The blast took place at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine shortly after 9am local time when coal dust in the ventilation ducts caught fire
The fire caused an explosion which badly damaged the mine, with 43 people evacuated injured and two left in serious condition
Interfax said an explosion ‘thundered’ in the mine causing the emergency. Fire was said to be raging in a ventilation tunnel.
A report by Russia’s Interfax news agency said an ‘equipment malfunction’ or ‘natural causes’ were seen as the cause of the explosion.
A major operation in subzero temperatures was underway to save the trapped miners, according to multiple reports.
The Russian Investigative Committee indicated 45 people missing.
But Mash news outlet, which showed pictures from the scene, said 75 remained trapped inside the mine. Interfax reported the same figure
As the first victims emerged from the mine, a local emergencies source said: ‘According to preliminary data, none have bodily injuries.’
‘They inhaled (smoke) as a result of the explosion.’
According to Russia’s technological watchdog, an explosion occurred in the mine’s airway. An was launched by the Kemerovo region prosecutor’s office.
Listvyazhnaya is part of SDS-Ugol, one of Russia’s biggest coal mining companies.
Reports of the missing differed due to confusion over the exact number of miners in the mine when the blast happened, but some reports put the number as high as 75
Firemen work at the site of the explosion which is near the city of Listvyazhnaya, in Russia’s eastern Siberian regions
Police swap news at the site of a mine explosion in Siberia in the early hours of Thursday