At least 11 dead and dozens missing after accident in Siberia mine

At least 11 people have died and dozens are still missing following an accident in a coal mine in Siberia.

A fire broke out at the mine in the northern Russian region of Kemerovo on Thursday, local authorities said.

A total of 285 people were in the mine at the time of the incident, Kemerovo Governor Sergei Tsivilyov said on Telegram.

Russia’s Emergency Ministry said in a statement that a total of 239 people have been brought to the surface, while nearly 50 miners are trapped underground.

Tsivilyov said in another Telegram post that 49 people with injuries have sought medical assistance.

Efforts to rescue those trapped in the mine were halted on Thursday afternoon because of the risk of an explosion, officials said.

The cause of the fire remains unknown. Russia’s state Tass news agency, citing an unnamed emergency official, reported that coal dust caught fire, and that smoke quickly filled the Litsvyazhnaya mine through the ventilation system.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into suspected violations of safety regulations.

President Vladimir Putin has extended his condolences to the victims’ families and ordered the government to offer all the necessary assistance to those who were injured, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

After 36 miners were killed in a series of explosions at a coal mine in 2016, Russian authorities analysed the safety of the country’s 58 coal mines and declared 20 of them potentially unsafe.

Accidents in Russian mines are often blamed on poor safety regulations or outdated Soviet equipment.

The deadliest accident in recent years killed 91 people and injured more than 100 in May 2010 at the Raspadskaya mine, which is also in the Kemerovo region.


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