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At Least 17 People Killed In Komi Mine Explosion

Published: February 13, 2013 (Issue # 1746)


MOSCOW A pocket of methane gas exploded in a coal mine in the far northern Komi republic on Monday morning, killing at least 17 miners.

The blast at the Vorkutinskaya mine, owned by steel giant Severstal, occurred at 10:28 a.m. at a depth of about 800 meters, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Authorities cited differing numbers of fatalities from the explosion. Emergency officials said that 23 miners were in the area of the explosion and that 17 died and one was missing. Federal investigators said that in addition to the fatalities, two miners were injured in the blast.

A total of about 250 workers were in other areas of the mine at the time of the explosion and were evacuated, local prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, the blast was caused by a high concentration of methane, a combustible gas.

The explosion was at least the second fatal accident at a Russian mine in the past month. On Jan. 20, methane exploded in a mine in the Kuzbass coal basin in western Siberia, killing four workers.

Accidents at mines and industrial facilities in Russia are not uncommon, due to frequently lax compliance with safety rules and deteriorating Soviet-era infrastructure.

President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the families of the workers killed in Mondays blast and ordered Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov to fly to the scene of the accident.

Puchkov took off for the town of Vorkuta from Moscow at 3:30 p.m. on Monday with a team of physicians and psychologists to manage the fallout, the Emergency Situations Ministry said in a statement. It said 287 people and 79 machines were being employed in the cleanup and rescue efforts.

Puchkov said the families of those who died would each receive 2 million rubles ($66,000).

Komi republic head Vyacheslav Gaizer also flew to the scene on Monday afternoon from the regional capital, Syktyvkar, Interfax reported.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement that it suspected the blast was caused by a violation of safety standards, and had opened a criminal investigation into the accident.

Local prosecutors said in a statement that they would monitor the investigation and had initiated a check into the mines compliance with labor and industrial safety rules.

The Vorkutinskaya mine, which began operations in 1973, takes its name from its location in the town of Vorkuta, situated on a river about 150 kilometers from the Arctic Ocean.

The mine with an annual output of 1.8 million tons of coal belongs to the company Vorkutaugol, which is owned by Severstal.

In 2011, the Vorkutinskaya mine was given an award for having the best labor conditions of any facility in the Komi republic, RIA-Novosti reported.





 


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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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