Coal mine blast in Ukraine kills two; ten still missing

Monday, June 8, 2009

State mining officials have said that at least two miners have been killed and another 10 were missing on Monday after an explosion in a mine in eastern Ukraine.

51 miners were working in the Skochinsky mine in Donetsk when the accident occurred. 38 of them had managed to escape.

"One injured person was brought back to the surface by rescue workers and the fate of 10 miners remains unknown," said a State Committee on Workers' Safety spokeswoman, Marina Nikitina.

The spokeswoman added that it is believed there had been a blast of methane gas three times, threefold higher than the safety level.

The mine's director, Valeri Miminochvili, told reporters that "work is underway to ventilate the shafts and reduce the presence of methane," and that he hopes "we will have managed to clear the wreckage and ventilate the mine in 24 to 36 hours."

Rescue operations are currently underway.