Twenty six miners are still missing and four confirmed dead after explosions, rock collapse and fire hit a coal mine in Vorkuta in the Russian Arctic on Thursday.
The Vorkutaugol mining company, which runs the mine, said parts of the facility had collapsed after a sudden leak of methane gas triggered two blasts, Vedomosti reports.
“According to preliminary information, an explosion occurred in the mine in the afternoon on Thursday. The evacuation of people was organized immediately. About an hour later there was a second explosion,” Head of Vorkutaugol Coal Company’s Press Service Tatyana Bushkova said.
According to Bushkova, there were several rock falls in the epicenter of the explosions. The explosions caused a fire which is impossible to extinguish by conventional methods yet.
There were 110 workers in the mine at the time of the accident. Most of them were rescued, but two persons were found dead on Thursday, and another two on Friday morning. Four are hosiptalized.
Search for the 26 workers that are missing in the accident continues. A party of 70 rescuers is expected to arrive in Vorkuta today.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Canadian province of Quebec announces plan for northern development, Eye on the Arctic
Finland: Finland to save Talvivaara mining operations, Yle News
Greenland: Greenland pioneers Arctic tourism & mining, Cryopolitics Blog
Norway: Production uncertain beyond Q2 at iron-ore mine in Arctic Norway, Barents Observer
Sweden: Relocation of Arctic town underway in Sweden, Radio Sweden
United States: Alaska – Judge temporarily halts EPA process on Pebble Mine, Alaska Dispatch