A coal mine fire in Siberia has killed at least 52 people.
Associated Press photographers DARIA LITVINOVA and VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian news reports said a devastating fire swept through a Siberian coal mine on Thursday, killing 52 miners and rescuers about 820 feet underground.
Rescuers discovered 14 bodies hours after a methane gas explosion and fire filled the mine with toxic fumes, but were forced to call off the search for 38 more due to a buildup of methane and a high concentration of carbon monoxide fumes from the fire.
According to emergency officials quoted by the state news agencies Tass and RIA-Novosti, there was no chance of finding any survivors.
According to Interfax, a representative of the regional administration put the death toll from Thursday’s fire at 52, citing carbon monoxide poisoning as the cause of death.
When a fire broke out in the Listvyazhnaya mine in the Kemerovo region of southwestern Siberia, smoke quickly filled the mine through the ventilation system, trapping 285 people inside.
239 miners were brought to the surface by rescuers, 49 of whom were injured, and 11 bodies were discovered.
According to news reports, six rescuers died later that day while searching for others trapped in a remote area of the mine.
Rescuers attend a meeting after the accident at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Siberian city of Kemerovo, in this photo provided by the Governor of Kemerovo Region Press Office on Thursday, Nov.
(Photo courtesy of the press office of the governor of the Kemerovo region)AP
Officials in the region have declared three days of mourning.
Dmitry Demeshin, Russia’s Deputy Prosecutor General, told reporters that the fire was most likely caused by a methane explosion caused by a spark.
Methane explosions from coal beds during mining are uncommon, but they are responsible for the majority of fatalities in the coal mining industry.
According to the Interfax news agency, miners’ oxygen supplies are normally good for six hours and can only be extended for a few more.
The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal investigation into the fire because of safety violations that resulted in deaths.
The mine director and two senior managers were reportedly detained, according to the statement.
President Vladimir Putin has expressed his condolences to the victims of the…
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