The victims of the accident at a mine in the city of Belovo, Kemerovo region, were, presumably, 52 people, including six rescuers, said on Thursday, November 25, a representative of emergency services to the RIA Novosti news agency. There is no official confirmation of this information.
“According to preliminary data, no one was left alive in the mine,” said the interlocutor of the TASS news agency. According to the Interfax agency, at least 49 people were injured. The UK said that there was no information about 35 workers.
In the case of the death of miners, the 47-year-old director of the Listvyazhnaya mine, his 59-year-old first deputy and the 36-year-old section manager were detained. This was announced on Thursday, November 25, at the Investigative Committee (IC) of the Russian Federation. A case was initiated under part 3 of Art. 217 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (on violation of industrial safety requirements, resulting in the death of two or more persons by negligence).
Rescue operation suspended
Meanwhile, the search operation at the scene was suspended until the morning of November 26. According to the Acting Head of the RF Ministry of Emergency Situations Alexander Chupriyan, this is due to the deterioration of the gas-dynamic situation in the mine and an increase in the concentration of methane.
Meanwhile, Rostekhnadzor reported that 914 violations were identified in Listvyazhnaya’s work in 2021, its activities were suspended nine times, the total amount of fines exceeded 4 million rubles (about 47,787 euros).
Accidents have already occurred at the mine
The fire, according to the preliminary version, began after the ignition of coal dust in the ventilation drift at a depth of 250 meters, after which smoke spread through the ventilation throughout the mine, where, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, there were 285 people. On Thursday, 25 November, over 230 miners were evacuated. According to Deputy Prosecutor General Dmitry Demeshin, a methane explosion could have been the cause of the emergency, and the subsequent dynamic blow injured the miners.
The Listvyazhnaya mine has been owned by the SDS-Ugol holding since 2011. According to data from open sources, accidents occurred on it twice: on January 24, 1981 – an explosion of methane in the accumulating drift (five people died) and on October 28, 2004 – an explosion of a methane-air mixture (13 people died).