Ukrainian president names cause of explosion at Lugansk mine

DONETSK, July 29 (Itar-Tass) —— A failure in the electric circuit or violations in demolition works might have caused the explosion at the Sukhodolskaya-Vostochnaya mine in the Lugansk region, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said at the mine on Friday.

“There are two theories of this tragedy: it could be a failure in the electric circuit or violations in demolition works,” he said, adding that mine personnel denied possible violations.

The president ordered Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka to investigate the accident. “I want you to analyze circumstances of this tragedy from the legal point of view so that we expose possible violations and protect rights of the victims,” he said. “We must be very thorough and examine mining plans for possible technological violations.”

Last night’s explosion killed 17 people. Another two miners were taken to hospital with burns and injuries. Nine workers are missing.

Yanukovich also ordered the Emergency Situations Ministry and the Security Service to study all the circumstances of the Friday accident at the Bazhanov mine in Makeyevka, Donetsk region, the presidential press office said.

The Donetsk regional prosecutor’s office has opened a criminal case over the elevator collapse at the Bazhanov mine in Makeyevka.

The 70-meter-tall elevator collapsed at 10:40 a.m. Moscow time. There were 13 people inside at the accident moment. Three bodies were retrieved from under the debris. As of 4:00 p.m., three people were taken to hospital in serious condition.

From eight to nine people may be found under the debris, and rescuers say at least two of them are alive.

Seventy employees of the Emergency Situations Ministry and over 60 coalmine workers are reinforcing the elevator to prevent its further fall. No one can say how long the operation may last, but rescuers have installed lamps to continue the works at night.

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