- The rescue squad was called off to respond to a call for help.
- It was investigating miners in a Russian mining accident that killed at least 11 people.
- Rescue work was suspended due to the risk of an explosion.
In another incident in the Russian mines, the Ministry of Emergency Management said that a rescue squad was called off after they had been evacuated and that other rescue teams had been ordered to return to the mainland.
At least 11 miners were killed in a coal mine accident in Siberia, Russia, on Thursday and rescue operations of 35 people who had been secretly detained were called off after the explosion, the region governor said.
The ministry did not say how many rescuers were missing.
The accident happened when coal dust caught fire in the Listvyazhnaya river in the snowy Kemerovo region early Thursday, filling the mine with smoke, the TASS news agency said.
Regional Commissioner Sergei Tsivilev said:
The chances of an explosion are very high. Consider stopping hunting and rescuing people until the air supply is low.
Methane levels were extremely high, he said.
Many were receiving medical treatment in the hospital, some of them poisonous. Four were in critical condition.
The Kemerovo coal mine area about 3,500 km east of Moscow has been the scene of serious mining accidents for years.
The mine is part of SDS-Holding, a secret Siberian Business Union. The alliance had no immediate comment.
Before the rescue operation was halted, the governor said the mine was still electrified, but he lost contact with other underground people.
“At the moment there is not much smoke, so we believe there is no fire,” Tsivilev told his Telegraph correspondent. “We have no way of communicating with these people, the secret method doesn’t work.”
Some 285 people were inside the mine as smoke spread through the air, “the Ministry of Emergency Management said. At least 239 did the above, authorities said. He did not say what caused the smoke.
On television, President Vladimir Putin said he had spoken to the governor and emergency officials, calling the accident a “grave tragedy”.
Unfortunately, things are not always easy. And there are dangers to the lives of rescuers … We hope they can save as many lives as they can.
The Kremlin says Putin ordered the emergency minister to fly to the area to help.
Kemerovo announced a three-day funeral procession.
In 2007, Kemerovo had been the scene of the worst mining disaster since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 when the Ulyanovskaya mine explosion claimed the lives of more than 100 people.
In 2010, an explosion at the Raspadskaya mine in the region killed more than 90 people.
The Investigative Committee has said it has opened a case of negligence.
(Additional reports by Anton Kolodyazhnyy, Anastasia Lyrchikova and Gleb Stolyarov; Edited by Mark Trevelyan and Giles Elgood)
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