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Coal mine blasts kill 12 and trap 83

Two methane explosions tore through Russia's largest underground coal mine, killing at least 12 workers and injuring 41 others, an emergency services official said.

A further 83 people were trapped, including 19 rescuers. No others are to be sent into the Raspadskaya mine in western Siberia until it can be cleared of methane. More than 500 people were working yesterday to ventilate the mine and reopen shafts.

During the first explosion, just before midnight Saturday, 359 workers were below ground. The second, more powerful blast destroyed the main air shaft and all of the mine's above-ground structures.