17 killed, 11 injured in two mine accidents in Ukraine

15:37, July 30, 2011      

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Photo taken on July 29, 2011 shows the blasted coal mine in the Lugansk region, eastern Ukraine. (Xinhua/Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry )

At least 17 miners were killed and 11 others injured in two consecutive mine accidents in eastern Ukraine early Friday, the Emergency Situation Ministry said.

An explosion went off at the Suhodolskaya-Vostochnaya mine in the Lugansk region, leaving 16 people dead, three injured and nine missing among the total of 28 miners working underground at about 2 a.m. local time (0000 GMT).

The three injured were hospitalized with burns and injuries, the ministry said.

According to an initial investigation, the accident was caused by a mix of methane and air.

The other mine death occurred when an elevator collapsed at the Bazhanova mine in Donetsk region hours after the Lugansk explosion, authorities said, adding that nearly 600 workers underground had been evacuated through emergency exits.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has flown to the blasted mine immediately, according to his office.

The president expressed his condolences to victims and their family members and ordered the Cabinet to set up a commission to investigate the causes of the two accidents.

Ukraine's mines are considered among the world's most dangerous due to outdated equipment and lax safety regulations.
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