Russia mine disaster toll rises to 52; Putin for probe | world | Hindustan Times
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Russia mine disaster toll rises to 52; Putin for probe

world Updated: May 11, 2010 19:13 IST

PTI
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The death toll in twin methane blasts in a Siberian coalmine has risen to 52 with more bodies recovered from the shaft, even as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has sought a thorough probe into the incident described as the worst such disaster in Russia's recent history.

"We have recovered bodies of five more miners. So the latest toll of the tragedy stands at 52. Fate of another 38 miners is unclear," a spokesman of Emergencies Situations Ministry was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS.

Russia's largest and most modern "Raspadskaya" coalmine in Mezhdurechensk of in Siberian region of Kemerovo was hit by a methane blast late on Saturday night, four hours later on Sunday when 20 rescuers were already on the job inside the mine another powerful methane blast rocked causing extensive damage also to buildings on the surface.

Prime Minister Putin, who arrived in the region on Tuesday morning, demanded a thorough probe.

"I call for a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy," dressed in black Putin said in his televised comments.

He said he wanted inspections of safety and rescue equipment, as well as an investigation into the actions of the Raspadskaya Coal Company that runs the mine.

"We need to know the reasons that led to such a large death toll," he was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

Earlier on Monday, President Dmitry Medvedev had appointed a high-level probe headed by Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov.

According to Moscow-based BFM business radio the stocks of Raspadskaya Coal Company dropped by 15 per cent at Moscow bourses amid fears of massive losses and compensation demands by its clients.