Nov 26, 2021 - World

Russian coal mine blast kills at least 52 people

Russian Emergencies Ministry employees work at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in the town of Belovo in the Kuznetsk Coal Basin in Kemerovo Region, southwestern Siberia.
Russian Emergencies Ministry employees work at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in the town of Belovo in the Kuznetsk Coal Basin in Kemerovo Region, southwestern Siberia. Photo: TASS via Getty Images

A methane gas leak and explosion at a Siberian coal mine killed at least 52 people on Thursday, including six rescuers, Russian officials said.

The big picture: Russia's worst mining disaster in more than a decade occurred at the Listvyazhnaya mine in the Kemerovo region after gas filled a ventilation shaft, suffocating workers there, per the New York Times.

  • The Russian Investigative Committee said in a statement it has opened a criminal investigation into Thursday morning's disaster.
  • The mine's director and his deputy have been arrested on suspicion of violating safety rules, the agency said.
  • Authorities announced later in the day they were suspending rescue operations due to "high concentration of methane in the mine," the NYT reports.

By the numbers: 285 people were in the mine some 820 feet underground when the disaster struck, according to AP.

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