Methane explosion killed dozens of workers and three rescuers in Siberian coal mine
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Over 50 people have officially been confirmed dead but the and more than 60 were injured after a fire broke out in a coal mine in the Kemerovo area of Siberia, Russian authorities say.
A build up of methane and carbon monoxide gas caused an explosion, causing a fire to rage inside the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in southwestern Siberia.
About 300 people were said to have been in the mine when the fire broke out. A total of 239 people, were evacuated successfully.
11 miners and three rescuers died while searching for victims trapped in a remote section of the mine. Six more bodies were recovered on Friday morning, and 31 people were still reported . The presumed death toll is now at 51, according to officials in the Kemero region.
63 more people were given medical attention for injuries following the blast.
On Friday, the last survivor was rescued from the mine, before rescue efforts were called off.
Criminal investigation launched by Russian authorities
Thursday´s explosion, and the fire that followed, is the deadliest mining incident in Russian since 2010, when two methane explosions killed 91 people in the same region.
In 2016, a series of methane explosion killed 36 people in a mining operation in the north of Russia.
Following that explosion, authorities analyzed the safety of 58 Russian coal mines and declared 20 of them potentially unsafe.
The Listvyazhnaya mine, which exploded last Thursday, was not on that list of unsafe mines - however, 13 people reportedly died in a methane explosion in the very same mine in 2004.
Russian authorities have now started a criminal investigation around the incident on Thursday November 26.
Many locals in the area blame failing safety measures in the mine itself for the accident. In the video below, grieving family members tells stories of how the workers had complained for weeks about high methane levels in the mine.
According to CBC News, law enforcement officials also said on Friday that miners had complained about high level of methane in the mine.