Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The death toll from twin explosions last May 8in Raspadskaya mine located in the region of Kemerovo in western Siberia, has risen to 43. At least 80 wounded have been admitted to hospitals in the area, six others, whose conditions are more severe, have reached Moscow for specific treatments. The crisis unit set up by the Ministry for Emergencies emphasizes that 39 bodies have already been identified.
At the moment there are still 47 workers trapped inside the largest coal mine in Russia. The state agency Itar-Tass reports that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived yesterday evening in Kemerovo, for a visit to injured miners and the site of the accident.
Meanwhile, relief operations continue to recover other trapped workers. 720 volunteers have been sent to the disaster site by the Ministry for Emergencies, with 104 support vehicles.
The first of two explosions in the coal mine was on the evening of 8 May. At the time of the explosion there were 370 miners inside the tunnels. A few hours later there was a second explosion, when the first aid teams had reached the site. The twin blasts it seems were caused by a methane. Leak.
Inaugurated in 1973, Raspadskaya is one of the largest coal producers in Russia with estimated reserves of around 782 million tonnes. From the depths of Siberian mines about 80 million tons of coal per year are extracted, mostly exported to Ukraine and other Eastern European countries.
40% of the property is held by the energy giant Evraz, controlled by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovitch.
Accidents in Russian mines (as was the time of the former Soviet Union) are frequent, due to old infrastructure and inadequate security measures.