Coal mine blasts: Russian region declares `day of mourning`

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - 19:51

Moscow: As the death toll in the twin
methane gas blasts in Russia`s largest coal mine touched 60,
the western Siberian region of Kemerovo where the explosions
occurred has declared the `Day of Mourning` on Saturday in the
memory of those killed in the incident.

The toll rose to 60 after rescuers lifted eight more
bodies from the badly damaged `Raspadskaya` coal mine and
there were remote chances of finding survivors among the 30
missing minors.
At least 99 people were also injured in the weekend
methane blasts that ripped through the mine, RIA Novosti
reported.

"State flags will be lowered on residential and
administrative buildings in Kemerovo region, on Saturday, May
15," a decree signed by Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleyev said.

All entertainment events would be cancelled along with
entertainment programmes on local TV and radio.

Emergency Situations Minister Sergey Shoigu, who is
supervising the rescue operation, said the rescue efforts had
been hampered by the threat of further explosions, underground
fires and piles of debris.

He said the rescuers have less than 24 hours as the water
is flooding the shafts and methane level is rising.

According to ITAR-TASS, nine rescue teams are trying to
reach the areas where the missing miners were working at the
time of the first explosion on Saturday last. The second
explosion occurred the next day.

The Raspadskaya mine is Russia`s largest and most modern
coal mine, producing 10 per cent of coking coal in the
country.
Damage from two deadly blasts could reach 5.7 billion
roubles (USD 188 million), according to Governor Tuleyev.

He said it would take about 12 months to reconstruct the
mine, adding that about USD 165 million were required to
rebuild the underground part of the coal mine and another USD
23 million for the surface structures.

"The coal mine cannot be reconstructed at once. It will
take about a year. The rationale is that it must be
reconstructed part-by-part. The least-damaged part has to be
reconstructed first and then the remaining parts will be
rebuilt," Tuleyev was quoted as saying by Interfax.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - 19:51

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