Ukraine mourns 37 dead in mining accidents

Last Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2011 - 19:34

Kiev: Ukraine held a day of mourning
on Sunday for 37 miners killed in two accidents in coal pits in
the country`s eastern industrial district as the last bodies
were pulled from the rubble.

The emergency ministry said today that 26 bodies had
been recovered after a blast deep in the
Sukhodolskaya-Vostochnaya coal mine in the eastern Lugansk
region.

Rescuers also retrieved the last of 11 bodies at the
Bazhanova pit in the town of Makiyivka in the neighbouring
Donetsk region where a concrete mine headframe collapsed.

The twin disasters were the country`s worst mining
accidents since 2007 when more than 100 miners were killed in
an explosion.

"The search and rescue operation has been concluded,"
the ministry said today, with all those previously listed as
missing confirmed dead.

The first mass funerals were due today afternoon, with
Prime Minister Mykola Azarov set to attend services for
victims of both accidents.

Fifteen miners from the Sukhodolskaya-Vostochnaya mine
were to be buried, a spokeswoman for the Lugansk region
administration, Albina Kosheleva, said.

The youngest victim was just 19 while the oldest was
51, she said.

"Not all the bodies have been identified yet. The rest
will be buried after the forensic medical examination," she
added.

The country paid its respects with lowered flags and
cancellations of entertainment and sports events.

Celebrations for Russian Naval Day in the Crimean city
of Sevastopol, which hosts a Russian naval base, began with a
minute of silence to remember the dead, a news agency journalist
witnessed.

"We express our sympathy and condolences with the
relatives of the victims," the commander of the Russian Black
sea fleet Alexander Fedotenko said.

He added that all the entertainment events for Navy
Day, a landmark holiday, had been cancelled.

Fatal accidents are frequent in Ukrainian mines, most
of which are located in the country`s industrial eastern
region. Many mines are underfunded and poorly equipped, while
safety violations are rife.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, July 31, 2011 - 10:09

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