Thursday, December 8

A fire in a mine in Siberia causes 11 deaths and dozens missing

Rescue personnel in the Kemerovo mines.

Rescue personnel in the Kemerovo mines.

Accidents in the mines of Russia, often the result of labor negligence, continue to be the order of the day. At least 11 miners have lost their lives and others 46 are missing due to an accident in a coal pit in the Siberian region of Kemerovo. By midmorning, the rescue tasks had to be suspended due to the dangerousness of work.

The fate of the disappeared is unknown, since until mid-afternoon on Thursday it had not been possible to establish contact with them. According to the Meduza information portal, dozens of people have been injured, up to fifty, as a result of the accident, the causes of which are still unknown. The Investigation Committee, a body equivalent to the Office of the Prosecutor, has opened an investigation for “violation of safety regulations” in the workplace.

Sources of the emergency services have informed the TASS agency that the coal dust set fire in the ventilation duct about 250 meters deep, and that as a result, the smoke spread throughout all corners of the mine. “There was no explosion, the mine did not experience damage,” said sources. The mining operation is in the name of SDS Ugol, a company belonging to the holding SDS, owned by the oligarch Vladimir Gridin and his sons, a powerful businessman who has held important political positions and with close ties to President Vladimir Putin.

“A tragedy”

Precisely, the seriousness of the incident has forced even the Kremlin leader to come to the fore and to direct a message to the nation to give explanations. “It is a great tragedy“declared the Kremlin leader in a somber tone.” We hope to be able to save the as many as possible of people, “he continued, before admitting that there was even a risk to rescue teams.

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The relatives of the miners have crowded into the surroundings of the facilities and they have not wanted to do statements to the press, according to eyewitnesses collected by Russian media. In parallel, the Ministry for Emergency Situations has opened a telephone hot line to report what happened. while the local authorities of the Kemerovo region have proclaimed three days of mourning.

It is not the first tragedy to affect the Listviajnaïa mine, located near the town of Gramoteino, in central Siberia. In 2004, a methane explosion killed 13 people and injured about twenty. A quarter of a century earlier, when the USSR still existed, other five people they perished as a result of a deflagration. The economic growth that the country has experienced in the past two decades, since President Putin came to power, has failed to end the tragedies at the country’s mining operations. In 2010, 91 miners were killed in another mine also in the Kemerovo region. The last major accident occurred two years ago, when the breaking of an illegal dam at a gold mine in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, also in Siberia, caused 17 deceased.

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