Russian coal mine fire kills at least 52

At least 52 people have died in the fire at a coal mine in Siberia resulting from a gas leak, Russian news agency TASS reported on Thursday.

There were around 285 people in the Listvyazhnaya mine in Belovo, Siberia, when a fire broke out on Thursday, filling the mine with smoke, the Associated Press reports. Most were evacuated, but dozens became trapped underground in a remote section of the mine.

The rescue operation has been suspended due to high levels of methane and carbon monoxide, according to the Interfax news agency. The death toll includes six rescuers.

The Russian investigative committee in the Kemerovo region said it would conduct a criminal investigation into potential violations of industrial safety requirements at dangerous production sites.

Rescuers marched to the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, about 1,900 miles east of Moscow, on Thursday. PA

Prosecutors believe a methane explosion was the cause of the blaze, which then filled a ventilation shaft, Reuters reports, citing state television. The manager of the Listvyazhnaya mine and two senior officials were arrested for violating industrial safety rules, according to Reuters and AP.

Kemerovo Governor Sergey Tsivilyov has declared three days of mourning for the victims, according to the TASS news agency, which means flags will be half-masted and all local entertainment events and TV shows will be canceled .

Dozens of minors were still being treated in a hospital Thursday evening. Reuters called the incident one of Russia’s worst mining disasters since the Soviet Union era.

The owner of the coal mine, the holding company SDS, which is part of the Siberian Business Union, a private company, said in a statement to TASS that he would pay the families of those killed 2 million rubles, or about 26 $ 780, with additional compensation on a case-by-case basis. case basis.

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