32 killed in Siberian coal mine blast; 58 still missing | world | Hindustan Times
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32 killed in Siberian coal mine blast; 58 still missing

world Updated: May 10, 2010 22:59 IST

The twin methane blasts that rocked Russia's largest coal mine in western Siberia have killed at least 32 people, with rescuers still searching for 58 missing miners trapped underground.

As of now, 32 people have died and 58 people, whose fate is unknown, remain in the mine, officials said.

"We are continuing the search," Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu, who arrived last night on orders of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to supervise the rescue efforts, told reporters.

The explosions, one of which occurred on Saturday evening and the other last morning, took place in 'Raspadskaya' coal mine in the Siberian region of Kemerovo, about 3,500 kilometres east of Moscow.

The toll rose after bodies of 20 people, most of them rescuers were recovered from the mine. They included bodies of 17 rescuers, who had gone inside the mine after the first blast, but were themselves trapped inside.

Bodies of 12 miners had been recovered on Sunday.

Shoigu said that rescue workers brought in Mezhdurechnisk from other coal mining regions of Russia had around 48 hours to save two groups of people, including some of their colleagues who went in after the initial blast, trapped underground at two separate points in the mine.

"Of all the locations and places where miners and rescue workers were working, two of these remain critical, because the drainage system there has been destroyed," Shoigu was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

He added that there was no way of lowering water levels in these areas, and high levels of methane gas have raised fears of further explosions and hindered rescue efforts.

Reports said six people are in one location and seven in another and that they could only be reached via shafts.

Investigators also said that 17 bodies, believed to be those of rescue workers, had already been brought to the surface.