29 Feb 2016

Russian mine explosion leaves 36 presumed dead

9:16 am on 29 February 2016

Thirty six people, including five rescue workers, are presumed dead following an explosion at a coal mine in northern Russia, officials say.

Rescuers at the Severnaya coal mine in Vorkuta, Russia. Thirty six people are presumed dead after an explosion.

Rescuers at the Severnaya coal mine in Vorkuta, Russia. Thirty six people are presumed dead after an explosion. Photo: AFP / RUSSIA'S EMERGENCY MINISTRY

Four miners were killed when a methane leak triggered two explosions in the mine near Vorkuta on Thursday.

Rescuers were trying to save 26 trapped miners when a new blast killed five rescue workers and a miner.

The rescue operation has been halted and those missing were presumed dead.

The incident was one of the worst Russian mining disasters in recent times.

Russia's Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said the circumstances in the affected part of the mine would not allow anyone to survive.

"In the underground space where the 26 miners were, there are high temperatures and no oxygen," he said.

The TASS Russian news agency reported that all the rescuers who were killed or injured in the operation would be given state awards.

- BBC

- BBC