28 February 2016

Russian coal mine accident kills 36, including 5 rescuers

This Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 shows rescuers from Kemerovo region arriving for help in Vorkuta, Russia. Russian officials say a total of 36 people are believed to have died at a coal mine where a methane gas leak triggered three explosions and the collapse of the mine. The Russian emergency services say the dead include five rescue workers and a mine worker who were killed when the third explosion rocked the Vorkutaugol mine in Russia's far north Komi region early Sunday.
A methane gas leak at a coal mine in Russia's far north triggered three explosions that ignited fires and partially collapsed the mine, killing 36 people, officials said Sunday.

The dead included five rescue workers and a mine worker who were killed early Sunday when the third explosion rocked the Severnaya mine in Vorkuta, a town north of the Arctic Circle in the Komi region, the emergency services said.


The first two explosions struck late Thursday, killing four miners and trapping 26 others.

Denis Paikin, technical director for mine operator Vorkutaugol, said Sunday that given the level of gas in the mine, the degree of destruction and the trajectory of the fire, which continued to burn, all the missing miners were presumed dead. Federal officials later confirmed that none of the trapped miners had survived.

At the time of the first blast, 111 miners were underground and 81 were rescued.

Russia's industrial safety watchdog, Rostekhnadzor, said the accident was a natural disaster.

"According to the materials that have been obtained and preliminary information, the accident had natural causes and was a geological event," said Alexander Goncharenko, who heads the regional branch of the watchdog, Russian news agencies reported. He did not elaborate.
This Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 shows rescuers from Kemerovo region arriving for help in Vorkuta, Russia. Russian officials say a total of 36 people are believed to have died at a coal mine where a methane gas leak triggered three explosions and the collapse of the mine. The Russian emergency services say the dead include five rescue workers and a mine worker who were killed when the third explosion rocked the Vorkutaugol mine in Russia's far north Komi region early Sunday.

The Investigative Committee, however, said it had not yet determined what caused the gas explosions and also scolded the Komi administration for demanding that the investigation be fully transparent.

"No official besides the leadership of the Investigative Committee has the right to demand anything," agency spokesman Vladimir Markin said. "The Investigative Committee is a federal body that answers directly to the president of Russia."

The Komi administration later issued a statement apologizing for the phrasing and saying it had full confidence that investigators would determine who bore responsibility for the accident and hold them accountable.

(AP)
This Friday, Feb.26, 2016 photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 shows rescuers listen to instruction in Vorkuta, Russia. Russian officials say a total of 36 people are believed to have died at a coal mine where a methane gas leak triggered three explosions and the collapse of the mine. The Russian emergency services say the dead include five rescue workers and a mine worker who were killed when the third explosion rocked the Vorkutaugol mine in Russia's far north Komi region early Sunday.
This Friday, Feb.26, 2016 photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 shows rescuers listen to instruction in Vorkuta, Russia. Russian officials say a total of 36 people are believed to have died at a coal mine where a methane gas leak triggered three explosions and the collapse of the mine. The Russian emergency services say the dead include five rescue workers and a mine worker who were killed when the third explosion rocked the Vorkutaugol mine in Russia's far north Komi region early Sunday.
Photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 shows rescuers leaving an elevator in Vorkuta, Russia. Russian officials say a total of 36 people are believed to have died at a coal mine where a methane gas leak triggered three explosions and the collapse of the mine. The Russian emergency services say the dead include five rescue workers and a mine worker who were killed when the third explosion rocked the Vorkutaugol mine in Russia's far north Komi region early Sunday.
Photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 shows rescuers leaving an elevator in Vorkuta, Russia. Russian officials say a total of 36 people are believed to have died at a coal mine where a methane gas leak triggered three explosions and the collapse of the mine. The Russian emergency services say the dead include five rescue workers and a mine worker who were killed when the third explosion rocked the Vorkutaugol mine in Russia's far north Komi region early Sunday.
This Friday, Feb.26, 2016 photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 shows rescuers getting on an elevator in Vorkuta, Russia. Russian officials say a total of 36 people are believed to have died at a coal mine where a methane gas leak triggered three explosions and the collapse of the mine. The Russian emergency services say the dead include five rescue workers and a mine worker who were killed when the third explosion rocked the Vorkutaugol mine in Russia's far north Komi region early Sunday.
This Friday, Feb.26, 2016 photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 shows rescuers getting on an elevator in Vorkuta, Russia. Russian officials say a total of 36 people are believed to have died at a coal mine where a methane gas leak triggered three explosions and the collapse of the mine. The Russian emergency services say the dead include five rescue workers and a mine worker who were killed when the third explosion rocked the Vorkutaugol mine in Russia's far north Komi region early Sunday.
This Friday, Feb.26, 2016 photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 shows rescuers listen to instruction in Vorkuta, Russia. Russian officials say a total of 36 people are believed to have died at a coal mine where a methane gas leak triggered three explosions and the collapse of the mine. The Russian emergency services say the dead include five rescue workers and a mine worker who were killed when the third explosion rocked the Vorkutaugol mine in Russia's far north Komi region early Sunday.
This Friday, Feb.26, 2016 photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 shows rescuers listen to instruction in Vorkuta, Russia. Russian officials say a total of 36 people are believed to have died at a coal mine where a methane gas leak triggered three explosions and the collapse of the mine. The Russian emergency services say the dead include five rescue workers and a mine worker who were killed when the third explosion rocked the Vorkutaugol mine in Russia's far north Komi region early Sunday.

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