Fifteen remain underground after Russian coal mine blast - Interfax

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 22, 2014 11:37 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Fifteen Russian miners were believed still to be underground after a blast at a coal mine in Siberia on Wednesday, the Interfax news agency reported.

Citing an emergency official, Interfax said 90 of the 105 miners who had been in the mine in the Kemerovo region city of Prokopyevsk at the time of the blast had been evacuated.

Nine miners were believed to have been in an area near the blast when it occurred, the regional administration said on its website. It said the miners were equipped with motion sensors and that one appeared not to be moving.

The blast occurred at the Dzerzhinsky mine in Prokopyevsk in a coal-rich section of central Siberia known as the Kuzbass.

Fatal accidents are frequent in Russia's ageing pits despite improvements in safety since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Most accidents have been attributed to methane gas blasts, negligence or a failure to follow safety regulations.

A methane blast at a coal mine in northern Russia last February killed 18 miners.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman, editing by Alister Doyle)