At least 33 miners were feared killed in a gold mine fire in southern Siberia and rescuers have recovered 11 bodies, Russian official media said on Friday.
A total of 64 workers were underground when the fire broke out in a shaft at the Vershino-Darsunsky gold mine in the Chita region on Thursday.
In all, 31 miners were safely evacuated immediately after the blaze in the shaft at a depth of between 85 -135 meters but 22 miners still trapped in heavy smoke and high temperature are feared dead as their individual oxygen masks could have run out gas.
A team of 120 rescuers from local emergency services involved in the ongoing search and rescue operation have been reinforced with two more teams rushed from neighbouring coal mining region of Kemerovo, who are trying to reach the trapped miners from a parallel shaft.
According to RIA Novosti the fire was caused due to negligence of safety rules for conducting welding work in mines and a case of criminal case has been launched.