Russia mourns the deaths of 52 miners in a coal mine disaster in Siberia.
On Friday, a Siberian mining district began three days of mourning after officials announced that 52 people had perished in a coal mine accident and that a rescue effort had failed.
The disaster at the Listvyazhnaya mine in the Keremovo region, Russia’s biggest mining accident in more than a decade, has prompted a slew of investigations.
An apparent gas explosion caused the mine to fill with smoke in the early hours of Thursday, according to officials.
The emergency ministry stated on Friday that 52 people were murdered, including six rescuers who were part of a search operation.
In a statement, interim minister Alexander Chupriyan said, “This is a terrible sorrow for the entire country and the Russian emergency ministry.”
“Rescuers, like miners, did their job to the end,” he added, adding that their names “will live on in our memory forever.”
The rescuers were to be posthumously awarded the Order of Courage, one of Russia’s highest honors, according to the ministry.
Another person had been recovered alive, Chupriyan said in televised statements on Friday. More information was not immediately available.
When the mine began to fill with smoke on Thursday, there were 285 people inside, and miners reported a chaotic evacuation.
“I think I passed out,” one worker told state broadcaster Rossiya 24. “I have no idea how much time has passed.” Another added, “I reached out my hands, but they couldn’t find me on their own because the visibility was bad.” “They drew me in… I had no idea who it was or where they were taking me.” The disaster looked to be caused by a methane explosion, according to officials. Fears of another bomb forced the search and rescue operation initiated on Thursday to be called off after several hours.
Six bodies had been hauled to the surface, including those of three miners, according to regional authorities. Nearly 50 people were sent to the hospital.
The Investigative Committee, which looks into big incidents, said three persons had been arrested, including the mine’s 47-year-old director and his 59-year-old first deputy.
The committee said in a statement that “during the initial inquiry, it was discovered that the detainees breached industrial safety rules.”
Investigators launched a new investigation on Friday, accusing two officials from the local branch of state safety watchdog Rostekhnadzor of neglecting to conduct adequate mine inspections.
According to regional authorities, about 50 people were hospitalized as a result of the tragedy.
In the region, the governor has proclaimed a three-day mourning period. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.