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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 February, 2005, 23:46 GMT
Russian coal mine blast kills 21
Russia's NTV channel showed rescue workers at the Yesaulskaya mine
Rescue workers are still searching for the missing men
A methane explosion in a coal mine in southern Siberia has killed at least 21 people, Russian emergency services say.

The blast happened as miners and rescue workers battled to contain a fire that had broken out on Tuesday in one of the mine shafts.

At least three people are still missing in the Yesaulskaya mine in the Kemerovo region, reports say.

Russia's coal mines are notoriously unsafe and a similar blast in Kemerovo killed 13 people last October.

A further 45 miners were killed in an explosion in the region in April last year.

A rescued miner, Andrei Pshenichnikov, told Russian TV station NTV: "A shock wave came and it hurled us all, thrown into somersaults like in a circus.

"Then I walked along the track, I don't remember how long. I met security guards and they helped me."

Russia's coal mines are largely unprofitable and many have not invested in new safety equipment since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than a decade ago.

Russian mine explosion kills 13
28 Oct 04 |  Europe

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