A miner was found alive in the Listvyazhnaya mine in Russia after Thursday’s accident in which all 52 trapped people were killed. A new tragedy, in a country where even in past years there had been several terrible fatal accidents in mines.
At around 8.35 am smoke spread into the mine, according to emergency services the tragedy could have been caused by coal dust that would have caught fire in a ventilation shaft.
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At that time 285 people were working in the mine and 239 of them were evacuated. “We have 35 people underground now” and “their location has not been determined”, said Serghiei Tsivilyov, governor of the Kemerovo region, in whose territory the accident occurred. While in the early afternoon the administration of the mine made it known that “all the rescuers” had been “urgently evacuated” for fear that “the concentration of gas” could cause an explosion.
“Operations will resume as soon as the gas concentration drops to a safe level,” Governor Tsivilyov said, announcing three days of mourning in the region starting tomorrow. In the evening, then the dramatic confirmation of a very heavy toll: fifty-two people, including six rescuers, died, all the national press agencies announced, adding “no one is left alive”.
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The incident shook Russia. “When people die, it is a great tragedy for families and all relatives,” said President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
Several mining accidents have occurred in Russia in the past, disasters that many observers link to outdated equipment and inadequate safety standards.
One of the most serious disasters dates back to 2010, when an explosion killed 91 people in the Raspadskaya mine, the largest in Russia. In 2007 another explosion killed 110 people in the Ulyanovkskaya mine.