A Briton was among 106 people killed in a methane gas explosion in a Siberian coal mine - Russia's deadliest mining disaster in a decade.
Today, rescuers were still searching for four missing miners; 93 had been found alive.
Company officials and safety experts, along with the unnamed Briton and his interpreter, were in the mine examining a British-made hazard monitoring system just before the blast occurred, said Sergei Cheremnov, a spokesman for the regional government in Kemerovo where the mine is located.
About 200 workers were in the Ulyanovskaya mine in the coal-rich region known as the Kuzbass at the time of the blast, which happened early yesterday at a depth of about 900 feet.
The massive mine in the city of Novokuznetsk, about 1,850 miles east of Moscow, is operated by Yuzhkuzbassugol, an affiliate of Russian coal and steel company Evraz Group, which acquired a 50 per cent stake in the company in 2005.
President Vladimir Putin ordered Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu to travel to the area, and the industrial regulatory agency Rostekhnadzor had sent investigators.
The incident was the latest to highlighted the precarious and hazardous state of Russia's mining industry, which fell into disrepair when government subsidies dried up after the Soviet collapse.
At least 30 workers died in Russian mining accidents last year, including 25 who perished in a fire at a Siberian gold mine. In 2004, a blast at a mine on the outskirts of Novokuznetsk killed 47 workers - the deadliest in the region since 1997, when a methane explosion at a mine in the city killed 67.
Alexander Sergeyev, chairman of the Independent Coal Miners' Union, said the Ulyanovskaya mine operated with new equipment, but he said human and natural factors always created the potential for accidents. He said miners may have encountered a pocket of methane while working and he called for new safety regulations to help minimise the chance of such incidents.Reuse content