Death toll in Russian mine blast rises to 30

14:31, May 10, 2010      

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The death toll from the coal mine blasts in Russia's Siberian region Saturday night has risen to 30, said Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu on Monday.

"As of present, 30 people have died and 60 people, whose fate is unknown, remain in the mine. We are continuing the search," said Shoigu as quoted by news agencies.

Shoigu, who flew to the scene on Sunday for rescue work, also said that 17 bodies of rescuers, from four rescue teams that went down after the suspension of rescue work because of the second blast, had been found underground.

Twelve bodies of miners previously found had also been transferred back to the surface, and six out of some 60 injured people, who were severely wounded had been sent to Moscow hospitals by aircraft of the emergencies ministry.

Rescue work was currently underway.

Earlier reports said the methane gas explosions at the Raspadskaya coal mine killed 12 and injured 41 people, and dozens more remained trapped underground in Russia's west Siberian region of Kemerovo.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has instructed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Sunday to set up a government committee for rescue and assistance to victims of the mine disaster. The committee was headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov.

The regional Prosecutor General's Office of Kemerovo has also launched an investigation into the cause of the blasts and security measures adopted by the mining company.

Founded in 1973, the Raspadskaya was one of Russia's leading coking coal producers, with total coal reserves estimated at 782 million tons.

In late January, a worker was killed by collapsed ceiling in the Raspadskaya mine.

Source: Xinhua


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