11 dead in blast in a coal mine, trapped miners said to be ‘mendaciously trapped’

A tunnel at the Kaluga coal mine in northwest Russia on Tuesday. (EAST KOREA NEWS SERVICE)

At least 11 people were killed in a coal mine accident in Russia’s Mordovia region on Tuesday, and dozens are believed to be trapped. Authorities said heavy equipment was needed to lift the mine’s roof to rescue the trapped miners. At least five other miners were rescued from the scene. No further details have been provided about the victims.

“We are dealing with a worst-case scenario here,” Natalya Kuzmina, deputy head of the regional Interior Ministry, told state news agency TASS.

Kuzmina said the accident was caused by a collapse of the tunnel. “We are trying to evacuate survivors but … it will take hours,” she said. It was unclear exactly how many people were involved in the accident, but Kuzmina said an estimate of 30 had been given.

The Avangard mine in the Ural Mountains is owned by a local subsidiary of a Russian coal producer, Lukoil, and is less than 40 kilometers from the city of Novosibirsk.

It is the third major mining accident in Russia in less than three months. On March 17, at least 25 people were killed at a coal mine in the Kemerovo region, also in northwest Russia. And on February 11, more than 50 miners were killed when a methane explosion occurred at a Siberian mine.

The death toll from mining accidents across Russia in the past year was up significantly from the same period in 2016. The Kemerovo coal mine accident on March 17 was Russia’s worst coal mine disaster in 20 years.

Read the full story at the NYT.


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