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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 October, 2004, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Russian mine explosion kills 13
Rescuers at mine
The rescue operation is now over
Thirteen miners have been killed in an explosion in a coal mine in Siberia, according to Russian officials.

The Emergencies Ministry said 90 miners working in the Listvyazhnaya mine in the Kuzbass coalfield had now been rescued, including 23 injured.

The blast was apparently caused by a build-up of methane, which also initially hampered rescue efforts.

Accidents are common in Russia's mines, which have a dismal safety record and decades-old procedures.

The mine is in the town of Belov, in Kemerovo region, about 3,000km (1,850 miles) east of Moscow.

The Russian emergencies ministry said the alarm was raised at around 0945 (0145 GMT), and the signal for a methane blast was sounded.

The 13 who died were among a group who had been carrying out repair work at the time.

An April explosion in the Kuzbass - Russia's largest coalfield - killed 45 miners.

With the rescue operation now over, an investigation is under way at the pit in Belov.

The regional governor says it is the first major accident at that site in half a century.

But the BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Moscow reports that many Russian coalmines are badly funded and maintained and safety procedures in the sector are notoriously poor.

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