A coal mine fire in Russia’s Siberia has left 11 dead and dozens trapped

A coal mine fire in Russia’s Siberia has left 11 dead and dozens trapped

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

The fire occurred in the Kemerovo region in southwest Siberia. Russia’s TASS news agency, citing an unnamed emergency official, reported that coal dust caught fire, and smoke quickly filled the Letsvaiznaya mine through the ventilation system.

On his page on the Telegram messaging application, Kemerovo Governor Sergei Tsevilyov said that a total of 285 people were in the mine at the time of the accident – 239 of them were evacuated and another 46 miners are still trapped underground. “43 people were taken to hospital with injuries, four of them are in serious condition,” Tsevilov said.

Earlier on Thursday, Russia’s acting Emergencies Minister, Alexander Choprian, said 44 workers were taken to hospital with injuries. The difference in the number of infections reported by different officials cannot be settled immediately.

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Efforts to rescue the rest are still underway, hampered by large amounts of smoke.

The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into the fire on charges of violating safety regulations that led to the deaths.

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

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

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

The last inspection of the mine took place on November 19, Interfax news agency reported, citing officials from Rostecnadzor, Russia’s state agency for technology and environmental control. The report did not provide any details on the results of the inspection.

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