Miners trapped after accident in Russia's Arctic pronounced dead
(MENAFN- The Peninsula) A handout picture released by the Vorkutaugol press service on 26 February 2016 shows rescue workers at the Severnaya coalminein Vorkuta about 1900 km northeast of MoscowRussia 26 February 2016. EPA/VORKUTAUGOL PRESS SERVICE/HANDOUT
MOSCOW:The 26 miners who were trapped ina Russian coal mine above the Arctic circle have died and rescueoperations have been halted after a third blast undergroundkilled several rescue workers emergency services said onSunday.
The miners were trapped on Thursday after a sudden leak ofmethane gas caused two blasts that led parts of the Severnayamine in Vorkuta to collapse.
President Vladimir Putin ordered a government commission tobe set up to look into the incident at the mine operated byVorkutaugol a subsidiary of Severstal.
"The circumstances in the affected part of the mine did notallow anyone to survive" Russia's Emergencies Minister VladimirPuchkov said in televised comments after visiting the mine.
"In the underground space where the 26 miners were thereare high temperatures and no oxygen."
Denis Paikin Vorkutaugol's technical director concurredwith Puchkov's assessment.
The Emergencies Ministry said on its website thatunderground rescue operations had been halted after a thirdblast early on Sunday killed six people.
A Severstal spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters that six peoplehad died in Sunday's blast and that five of them were rescueworkers.
The total death toll from the accident now stands at 36people.
The episode is the latest in a long line of accidents inRussia's coal mining industry and is likely to raise freshquestions about how strictly safety rules are being followed.
Poor safety standards were blamed for an explosion at theUlyanovskaya coal mine in the southern Siberian region ofKemerovo in March 2007. The Ulyanovskaya disaster claimed the
lives of miners in Russia's worst mining accident since the 1991collapse of the Soviet Union.
The head of the Komi republic where the Vorkuta mine islocated has declared a three-day mourning period in therepublic starting from Sunday.