Rescue workers near the mine
Photo: TASS / imago images / ITAR-TASS
In the worst mining accident in Russia in years, 52 people died in western Siberia.
The state agencies Tass and Ria Nowosti reported this on Thursday evening, citing the ambulance service.
Among them were six rescue workers who died during search work in the mine.
For hours, more than 30 miners were missing.
An explosion had occurred in the mine in the morning for an initially unknown cause.
According to the civil defense, a total of 239 workers were rescued from the »Listwjaschnaja« shaft in the Kuznetsk coal basin (Kuzbass).
More than 40 of them are in hospitals, said the governor of the Kemerovo region, Sergei Tsivilev.
He visited injured people in the hospital.
The condition of the miners in the shaft was unclear for hours.
The mine tunnels were heavily filled with smoke, it was said.
The workers could not save themselves.
The search work had to be temporarily interrupted hours after the accident due to the risk of explosion.
In addition, contact with the rescue workers was broken.
The explosion is said to have occurred at a depth of 250 meters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the relatives of the victims of the "tragedy" and ordered that aid be given to the bereaved and survivors.
“Unfortunately, the situation is not getting any easier.
There is also a danger to the lives of the rescue workers, "Putin said.
The director of the mine and two employees arrested
According to the investigators, the 47-year-old mine director, his deputy and a department head were arrested.
You would have to answer for violating work regulations.
The area around the mine, which opened in 1954, was cordoned off.
Psychologists looked after relatives.
The governor ordered a review of all mines in the area and a three-day mourning - from this Friday to Sunday.
Working in coal mining in Russia is considered life-threatening.
Serious accidents occur time and again due to violations of elementary safety regulations.
Methane gas, for example, often explodes.
The highly flammable mine gas is released during work in the mining industry and, if the ventilation is poor, it collects in the shafts and underground routes.
In the mine now affected, there was an explosion in 2004 with 13 dead.
In March 2007, a total of 107 people died in the city of Novokuznetsk in Siberia in the worst mining accident in Russia in recent years.
There were 91 deaths in 2010 in two methane explosions in the town of Mezhduretschensk in Siberia.
For the raw material superpower, coal mining is an important source of income alongside oil and gas.
According to official statistics, 402.1 million tons were extracted last year, some of which also went to Germany.
Environmentalists blame the mining industry in particular for massive environmental pollution in Siberia.
kfr / dpa