Methane gas explosion at Ulyanovskaya Mine kills at least 108

Monday, March 19, 2007

Location of Kemerovo Oblast within Russia

A methane gas explosion occurred at the Ulyanovskaya Mine near the city of Novokuznetsk in the Kemerovo region of Siberia. At least 106 people have been reported to be killed in the blast. Conflicting reports say that at least thirteen to forty-three miners are still trapped underground or missing, as well as 75 to 93 have been reported to have survived the blast.

The mine disaster is the deadliest accident in Russia's mining industry in over a decade. The mine, which was opened in 2002, had around 200 miners inside at the time of the methane gas explosion.

The Kemerovo governor Aman Tuleyev said that when the blast occurred, the mine's management was underground inspecting a newly installed safety system made by a British company. British experts and representatives of a management of the mine have gone down under the ground shortly before explosion. Tuleyev stated that on mine start-up, "the newest English system on a safety of conducting mountain works under the ground" should take place.

The operator of the mine is Yuzhkuzbassugol, Russia's biggest producer of deep-mined coal. The spokeswoman of the Emergencies Ministry stated that the blast occurred at 08:00 GMT, and that eighty-three miners had been safely evacuated from the mine shaft.