2 March 2017

8 miners killed by Ukraine coal mine blast, 6 miners injured

An explosion at a coal mine in western Ukraine left eight people dead Thursday, the state emergencies agency said.

The blast took place in the Stepovaya mine in the Lviv region, 460 kilometers (285 miles) west of the capital Kiev, about 550 meters (1,800 feet) underground. The agency said six miners were injured by the explosion.

Local officials in Lviv said the cause of the blast was a methane explosion.

The head of a miners' union, Oleksandr Volynets, initially said on social media that the death toll was 11, but the emergencies agency said there were eight dead.

Officials said 172 people had been in the mine at the time. They have rescued 20 miners who were initially reported as missing.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has flown to the area to overseen the probe into the explosion.