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Coal mine explosion in Russia kills 18
February 11, 2013, 12:25 pm

coal mine blast

The main building of the Vorkutinskaya mine. [AP]

A methane gas explosion at a coal mine in Russia’s northern republic of Komi on Monday morning has killed at least 18 people.

Initial information suggests there were two blasts at a depth of 800 metres.

“According to preliminary data, methane gas caused the explosion at the Vorkutinskaya mine around 10.28am Moscow time,” regional emergencies ministry spokesman, Alexander Sin said.

At the time of the blast over 250 miners were working in and around the mine.

The bodies of 18 miners have been found dead, a further five miners have been saved.

Vadim Kolesnikov, a duty officer at the Russian interior ministry says only 10 bodies have so far been taken out of the mine in Russia’s Komi region.

287 people and 79 units of equipment are working at the site of the accident and the rescue operation is underway.

The Vorkutinskaya mine has been in operation since 1973 and is owned by Severstal, Russia’s largest steel producer.

It produces 1.8 million tons of coal annually.

Daria Chernyshova