Criminal Probe Launched Over Siberian Coal Mine Blast

MOSCOW, November 25 (RIA Novosti) – Investigators have opened a criminal probe into a methane gas explosion at a coal mine in West Siberia that injured seven people, Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Sunday.

The incident occurred at the Gramoteinskaya coal mine near the town of Belovo in the Kemerovo region at 04.56 Moscow time (00:56 GMT) on Sunday. Seven miners received injuries of varying severity and were hospitalized and a total of 55 workers were rescued.

“A criminal case has been opened into the violation of safety rules during mining works causing heavy damage to human health through negligence or inflicting heavy damage,” the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

High concentration of methane remains the major cause of deadly incidents at Russian coal mines.

Two powerful methane blasts at the Raspadskaya mine near the west-Siberian town of Mezhdurechensk in May, 2010, killed 91 people, including rescue workers. Only 80 bodies have been uncovered from the mine.

Kemerovo is part of Russia’s major coal-producing Kuzbass region.


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