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Seven dead, 66 trapped after west Siberian mine blast: reports

05-09-2010 12:47 BJT

MOSCOW, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Seven miners were killed and another 66 remained trapped underground four hours after a methane explosion hit the Raspadskaya coal mine in Russia's west Siberian region of Kemerovo late Saturday night, news agencies reported citing Russian Emergency Situations Ministry.

Rescuers from 12 rescue teams were currently working at the scene. They have established contact with some of the trapped miners, said the RIA Novosti news agency.

Earlier reports put the death toll at two, with number of injuries varying from four to six.

Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu has briefed President Dmitry Medvedev on measures adopted to save the miners immediately after the blast, said the Itar-Tass news agency.

"Medvedev ordered the Emergencies Ministry head to report about the rescue efforts," and use every opportunity to rescue people, said the Kremlin press service.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has discussed the explosion with the regional governor Aman Tuleyev.

An emergencies official Yelena Kalabushkina said the explosion occurred at 8:55 p.m. Moscow time (1655 GMT), when some 312 people were in the mine.

Founded in 1973, the Raspadskaya was one of Russia's leading coking coal producers, with total coal reserves estimated at 782 million tons, said the company's website.

The mine blast came when the whole country of Russia was set to embrace grand celebrations for the 65th anniversary of the Victory over Nazi Germany during World War II that falls on Sunday.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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