Large toll feared after Siberian mine explosion

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The Independent Online

An explosion swept through a mine in the coal-rich Kuzbass region of Siberia on Wednesday, reportedly killing nine workers and leaving seventeen missing.

An explosion swept through a mine in the coal-rich Kuzbass region of Siberia on Wednesday, reportedly killing nine workers and leaving seventeen missing.

The blast occurred at the Yesaulskaya mine in the Kemerovo region, about 1,850 miles east of Moscow, said Olga Raskova of the Kemerovo regional press service. Four injured miners were taken to hospital their lives were out of danger, she said.

Thirty miners were in the shaft when the explosion occurred, the press service said. Rescuers were searching for the 17 missing miners, Raskova said.

The blast was caused by a methane build-up, according to a preliminary investigation. The press service said that smoke had been registered in the shaft on Tuesday night and that coal extraction had been stopped. The workers in the shaft at the time of the blast had been trying to erect bulkheads to cut off the source of the smoke.

Accidents are common in the Russian coal industry, which is plagued by dilapidated mines, old equipment and safety violations. In the deadliest disaster last year, a methane blast killed 47 miners in the Kuzbass in April.

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