[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Sunday, 11 April, 2004, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Russia mine blast leaves 40 dead
Taizhina mine
The missing miners are said to be about 700 metres below ground
At least 40 miners have died and a dozen more are trapped underground after an apparent gas explosion in a pit in Russia, officials say.

The blast, possibly caused by leaking methane, happened in the Taizhina coal mine in Siberia.

Some miners have reportedly been rescued or have made their own way to the surface; rescue teams are searching for seven possible survivors.

Russia's coalmines are notoriously under-funded and prone to accidents.

The blast happened in the early hours of Saturday morning in the Kemerovo region of Siberia, about 3,000km (1,850 miles) east of Moscow.

Trapped

The missing miners are believed to be trapped around 700 metres (2,200 ft) underground, although no contact had been established with them.

Kemerovo's governor, Aman Tuleyev, arrived at the scene to co-ordinate rescue efforts.

He told the NTV television station that the shortest path to the blast site was blocked by rubble.

He said that rescuers were now attempting to reach the trapped miners by burrowing through from an adjacent mine.

Funding crisis

The explosion is the third fatal mining accident in the area in the last two years.

In September 2002 the roof of a ventilation shaft collapsed in the same mine, killing one and seriously injuring two other miners.

In June last year, a methane gas explosion at another mine in the area killed twelve.

Russian mining has suffered from a funding crisis since the collapse of the USSR.

The BBC's Stephen Dalziel said that this shortage of investment had led to shortcuts being taken in safety procedures and an increase in accidents.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Stephen Dalziel
"The chances of finding anyone alive are fading fast"



SEE ALSO:
Mystery and joy as miners emerge
29 Oct 03  |  Europe
Blast hits second Russian mine
29 Oct 03  |  Europe
Rescuers reach flooded mine
28 Oct 03  |  Europe
In pictures: Russian mine rescue
29 Oct 03  |  Photo Gallery


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific