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33 killed, 77 missing in Ukraine coalmine blast
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10:01, November 19, 2007

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The death toll in Sunday's coal mine blast in eastern Ukraine has climbed to 33 while the fate of 77 others remains uncertain, Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister Andry Kliuev said.

"Thirty-three bodies have been found, but it is only a jumping-off point with the fate of 77 others unclear at the mine," Kliuev told reporters at the scene.

The methane explosion occurred at the Zasyadka mine in the Donetsk region at a depth of more than 1,000 meters at 3:11 a.m.local time (0111 GMT), the Emergency Situations Ministry said. The Donetsk region is about 640 km southeast of the capital Kiev.

"Twenty-six miners have been hospitalized by now, one of them was injured seriously, others were diagnosed with gas poisoning," Kliuev said.

The Ukraine's Emergency Situations Ministry said earlier on its Web site that 457 miners were working underground when the blast occurred.

Ihor Krol, the ministry's chief spokesman, said rescuers have not yet established contact with the miners missing throughout the sprawling mine.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has arrived in Donetsk and will head to the site to deal with the disaster, said the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

Sunday's blast was the second mine accident to hit the Donetsk region in two days. On Saturday a miner was killed by falling rocks in another coal mine in the region.

Source: Xinhua

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