More than 50 dead, one rescued in Russian mine explosion

Associated Press/Sergei Gavrilenko

More than 50 people are dead and one person has been rescued after an explosion at a coal mine in Siberia.

The Listvyazhnaya mine exploded on Thursday after coal dust in a ventilation shaft caught fire while 287 people were in it, the BBC reported.

Many were able to escape and were taken to the hospital, but 51 people died, including five rescue workers who were deployed after the explosion, according to the BBC. 

One rescuer who was trapped was found alive on Friday.

Rescue operations were suspended Thursday due to high levels of methane in the mine, which has been a complaint by workers for months. 

Local Russian media reports have told the stories of families who lost loved ones who said the mine has been known to be dangerous for months, according to The Washington Post. 

The wife of one of the miners killed, Boris Piyalkin, said the miners had to put out fires previously and the mine director wouldn’t check the safety despite her husband’s methane detector going off. 

“What did they check? That methane had been going off the scale there for a long time. My husband had a gauge here,” she said, according to the Post.

“He said, ‘The sensor is beeping, I‘ll wet it with water so it doesn’t beep.’ And then they worked. That’s the conditions in which they worked in,” she added.

The explosion is the worst mining disaster in Russia in a decade, the BBC noted. The mine director, the director’s deputy and the disaster area supervisor have been arrested following the explosion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the explosion and dozens who died was “a great tragedy.”

Tags Gases Methane Mining accident Vladimir Putin

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