Death toll in Siberian coal mine accident climbs up to 52: reports

AFP News Agency

26th Nov, 2021. 10:31 am
Siberian coal mine accident kills more than 50

More than 52 people have so far been killed after the worst mining disaster in a decade occurred in a Siberian coal mine on Thursday.

The incident started when coal dust in a ventilation shaft caught fire, filling the Siberian mine with smoke and killing dozens.

By nightfall, a failed operation to reach dozens of missing miners had turned to tragedy after several rescuers reportedly suffocated.

An emergency services source told one news agency “no one is left alive”.

The majority of the 285 people in the Listvyazhnaya mine escaped in the instant aftermath of the incident, at around 08:35 local time (01:35 GMT) on Thursday.

Officials said 49 had been taken to hospital with injuries. Some of the injured have smoke poisoning, and four are said to be in critical condition.

As well as the 2004 blast, another explosion at the mine killed five people in 1981, according to Russian media.

– Poor safety standards –

Mining accidents are fairly common in Russia and across the former Soviet Union as a result of poor safety standards, a lack of oversight of working conditions or ageing Soviet-era equipment.

In one of the worst recent examples, the rupture in October 2019 of an illegal dam at a gold mine in Siberia left 17 people dead.

The same month, three people were killed in an accident at a mine in the Arctic belonging to the Norilsk Nickel Group, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium.

In August 2017, eight people went missing after a flood swept through a Siberian diamond mine operated by Russia’s Alrosa, one of the world’s leading producers of rough diamonds.

After about three weeks, Alrosa announced that it was stopping the rescue operation.

The deadliest mining accident in Russia occurred at the Raspadskaya mine in Siberia — Russia’s largest coal mine — in the summer of 2010, killing 91 people and leaving more than 100 injured.

The incident was the result of a powerful methane explosion when more than 300 miners were inside. A second explosion then trapped a group of rescuers.

On top of the deadly accidents, NGO groups have drawn attention to the environmental practices of mines in Russia, one of the largest gold producers in the world.

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