Hopes are fading for the remaining three miners still trapped underground at a colliery in Siberia, where an explosion has already claimed 107 lives. It is the worst mining disaster in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the dead is a British mining engineer.
President Putin has ordered flags to half mast, to commemorate this and a spate of other fatal incidents in Russia. The regional governor says the mine-owners will pay nearly 60-thousand euros to compensate each of the victims’ families. Rescuers now say efforts to reach the remaining missing workers are being hampered by underground flooding and more gas.
Russians are not only mourning the mining disaster, 3,000 or so kilometres east of Moscow. In the South-West, in the Krasnodar region, a fire swept through an old-people’s home. Residents slept as the flames engulfed two floors of the building. 63 died, including a nurse.
Of the 35 rescued, 30 had to have hospital treatment. One woman said her rescuers grabbed her by both arms, and told her they were getting out. She said she was disoriented, like everyone else there, and she thanked the brave people for saving her life. President Putin has ordered an inquiry into the blaze, the mining disaster, and a plane crash, which has made it some of the darkest few days Russia has seen for decades.