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


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

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