MOSCOW, February 11 (RIA Novosti) – At least 10 miners died and seven more were feared trapped on Monday after a gas blast at a coal mine in Russia’s northern republic of Komi.
“According to preliminary data, methane gas caused the explosion at the Vorkutinskaya mine around 10.28 a.m. Moscow time,” regional Emergencies Ministry’s spokesman Alexander Sin told reporters.
Twenty-six miners were working in the section of the mine where the blast took place, of whom seven are missing. In total some 259 people were working at the mine at that time, Sin said.
The Vorkutinskaya mine, in operation since 1973, is owned by the northern division of one of Russia’s largest steel producers Severstal. It produces 1.8 million tons of coal annually.
Mine safety conditions in Russia have often been a cause for concern. In 2010, 91 workers died in twin methane gas explosions at a mine owned by the Raspadskaya company in the country’s eastern Kemerovo region.