36 People Died In Coal Mine Explosion And Fire, Russia Says

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Members of Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry attend a mourning ceremony for miners killed in the Severnaya coal mine. After an initial explosion trapped 30 miners underground, another explosion ripped through the mine during search and rescue works in the early hours of Sunday.i

Members of Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry attend a mourning ceremony for miners killed in the Severnaya coal mine. After an initial explosion trapped 30 miners underground, another explosion ripped through the mine during search and rescue works in the early hours of Sunday.

Alexei Shtokal/TASS via Getty Images


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Alexei Shtokal/TASS via Getty Images

Members of Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry attend a mourning ceremony for miners killed in the Severnaya coal mine. After an initial explosion trapped 30 miners underground, another explosion ripped through the mine during search and rescue works in the early hours of Sunday.

Members of Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry attend a mourning ceremony for miners killed in the Severnaya coal mine. After an initial explosion trapped 30 miners underground, another explosion ripped through the mine during search and rescue works in the early hours of Sunday.

Alexei Shtokal/TASS via Getty Images

A string of explosions at a Russian coal mine just inside the Arctic Circle has killed 36 people — both miners trapped inside and the rescuers who’ve been trying to help them, officials say. When they hit last week, the explosions caused a rock collapse and a fire that is still burning.

Occurring over several days, the explosions are being blamed on a buildup of methane gas. When the first one shook the Severnaya mine in the Komi republic in northwest Russia, 111 miners were underground, according to the state Tass news agency. In the hours that followed, officials say, 81 miners were able to reach safety; the bodies of four of miners were also recovered.

After an initial period of uncertainty and hope for the remaining 26 miners’ survival, officials now say they believe those miners have also perished – particularly given a strong explosion that hit during a rescue operation Sunday, killing a mine employee and a five-member rescue team.

“We have to state that all the parameters that have evolved at the accident-hit section of the coalmine do not allow anyone to survive,” Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov says, sharing his agency’s analysis of conditions in the mine,

Federal investigators are now looking into how the disaster happened; according to Puchkov, the mine isn’t likely to be declared stable until a least a month from now.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/29/468533153/36-people-died-in-coal-mine-explosion-and-fire-russia-says?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

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