The death toll after the explosion at the Listvizhnaya coal mine in the Kemer region of Siberia has increased to 52, the Russian news agency TASS reported. There are six rescuers among the dead. Most of the bodies are in the mine and are scheduled to be excavated once the methane concentration level stabilizes.
The services informed on Thursday morning about the appearance of smoke and then an explosion in one of the mine shafts in southwestern Siberia. At the time of the accident, 287 people were underground, and 237 escaped from the mine.
Previously, it was reported that 14 people have died: 11 miners and three rescuers, and over 35 are missing. At that time, 43 victims were also informed about hospitalization. Four people were in critical condition.
Hours later, it was reported that 52 people had died, including six rescuers. “According to preliminary findings, no one survived,” TASS reported. Most of the bodies are in the mine. They are to be extracted from it when the temperature and the level of methane concentration stabilize.
According to the deputy prosecutor general of Russia, Dmitry Demeszyn, a methane explosion was initially identified as the cause of the catastrophe in the mine. The TASS agency, citing a source close to the investigation into the crash, informed that two people were detained: the mine director and his deputy.
During the day it was judged that the data on the concentration of methane and carbon monoxide indicated a danger of an explosion. Earlier, citing the reports of the ministry for emergency situations, the Russian TASS agency reported that the mine was smoky.
Regional authorities announced a three-day mourning period from November 26.
Over 900 security breaches
The mine is located roughly 3,500 kilometers east of Moscow. It is owned by the SDS-Ugol holding, one of the three largest coal producers in Russia.
After a 2016 methane explosion at a mine in the Russian High North that killed 36 miners, authorities analyzed the safety of 58 coal mines and concluded that 20 of them, or 34 percent, were potentially unsafe. Listwiażnaja Mine was not explored at that time.
The Technical Inspection Agency (Rostekhnadzor) said on Thursday evening that more than 900 violations were recorded in the mine this year. Nine times her work was stopped.
The explosion at the Listwiażnaja mine also took place in October 2004. Thirteen people were killed then. The media also recall the 1981 outbreak in which five people lost their lives.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / YURI KOCHETKOV / HANDOUT