Death toll in Russian mine blast rises to 52

20:47, May 11, 2010      

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The death toll from the coal mine blasts in Russia's Siberian region has reached 52, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday.

"At this time a total of 52 bodies have been retrieved from the mine, 40 of them identified," a regional emergency ministry spokesperson told the RIA Novosti news agency.

Thirty-eight miners are still missing in the Raspadskaya coal mine.

The general atmosphere at Raspadskaya is "bleak and hopeless", and local residents keep silent and "don't expect any good news", the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

Minister for Emergencies Sergei Shoigu told reporters that ventilation pumps were set up to pump fresh air into the mine "pretty soon".

Shares of Raspadskaya Coal Company dip nearly 15 percent Tuesday on the Moscow stock exchange.

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.

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



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