Six of the victims are members of the rescue team who died asphyxiated by methane gas when entering the miners
At least 46 workers and six members of the rescue teams perished this Thursday at the Listviázhnaya mine, in the Siberian region of Kemerovo, due to a methane explosion that occurred around eight thirty in the morning, six hours less in Spain. The number of injured also exceeds fifty, according to a still provisional balance confirmed by regional authorities.
At first, there were fourteen deaths – eleven miners and three first aiders – and 35 workers and three members of the rescue team missing, but as the rescue work progressed, it was found that the number of deaths was much higher. Finally, sources from the rescue services told Russian press agencies that “according to preliminary information, no one has survived in the mine. Fifty-two people have died. All six members of the rescue service died of suffocation from the gases caused by the deflagration.
According to the Governor of Kemerovo, Sergei Tsiviliov, at the time of the accident there were 285 people inside the mine, so it is feared that more miners could be killed or trapped under the rubble. However, the search, in which more than 150 members of the rescue services are involved, was suspended during the afternoon and will not resume until this Friday, because the methane concentration was very high. This circumstance increased both the risk of suffocation and the risk of explosion. The problem is that, according to the interim minister of Civil Protection, Alexander Chuprián, the workers’ respirators are only designed for four hours of operation.
Tsiviliov, the governor of the region, went to the mine to meet with the families of the victims and their companions and decreed three days of mourning. The area was also visited by a group of representatives of the Russian Investigation Committee to try to determine the causes of the incident and to verify, as is suspected, that there has been a violation of safety regulations.
For its part, the local prosecutor’s office ordered the arrest of three people considered responsible for the tragedy, which the deputy prosecutor, Dmitri Demeshin, in all probability attributed to “a methane explosion resulting from a spark”. The detainees are the director of the mine, his first deputy and the head of the gallery in which the accident occurred.
The Listviázhnaya mine is situated in the notorious Kuzbass coal basin, where similar tragedies have occurred in the past. In fact, the deadliest event in recent years was also recorded in a mine in this same region of Kemerovo, the Raspadskaya mine, in which 91 miners died in May 2010 and more than a hundred were injured.
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