Ukrainian coal mine explodes, killing 68

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Monday, November 19, 2007

An explosion in a coal mine has killed at least 80 people in the city of Donetsk, Ukraine, while 20 people are reported missing.

According to reports transmitted by the local press and the Emergency Situations Department, 360 miners managed to get to the surface safely; 28 others are currently hospitalized, some with severe burns.

The Zasyadko mine is nearly 1,000 meters deep, and 457 people were in the mine when the explosion occurred at 3:11 am.

The cause of the explosion is still unknown. Initial reports suggest that the explosion was caused by methane mixing with the air in the mine.

During the afternoon, more than thirty rescue teams were found at the scene, wearing hard hats and oxygen tanks as they prepared to enter the mine.

Relatives of the victims gathered around the entrance to the mine, awaiting news of their loved ones. Officials read the names of those confirmed as dead.

The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, responded to the scene; the president of the country, Viktor Yushchenko, will visit the area this Monday.

"I am grieving with all of Ukraine", declared the Ukrainian head of state. He also criticized the government, saying that the mining industry has been a victim of "insufficient efforts".

With obsolete installations and poor construction, Ukraine has been a victim of various mining accidents in the past. According to union estimations, between 2006 and 2007 nearly 250 miners died in accidents.



Sources

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