At least 78 people have been killed in a methane explosion in a coal mine in Siberia. Some 200 people are thought to have been underground when the blast occured on Monday afternoon. More than 80 people have been evacuated to safety. A team from the pit’s management was underground inspecting a new safety system when the explosion happened. A Briton working for the British company that installed the safety system is reportedly among the victims.
Aman Tuleyev, governor of the Keromovo region where the mine is located, said the rescue operation would continue but was being hampered by thick smoke, gas and rubble. It is the deadliest accident of its kind in a decade – gas explosions are not uncommon in Russia’s old and dilapidated mines. Forty-seven workers were killed in a similar blast in 2004. However, this pit had opened just six years ago.