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Little or no hope for trapped Ukrainian miners

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Little or no hope for trapped Ukrainian miners


At least 39 miners have been killed in a gas explosion at a colliery in Ukraine. Officials say there is only a small chance of finding another 51 who are still missing.

Some 27 of their colleagues were pulled alive from underground shafts filled with fire and smoke.

The blast happened a kilometre below ground level at around three o’clock in the morning local time in the coalmining region of Donetsk.

It is the latest in a series of disasters to have struck Ukraine’s mining industry.

Last year a total of 170 miners lost their lives in accidents. Official statistics put the death toll for this year at 80.

A source at the office of President Victor Yuschenko says the government has not done enough to reorganise the mining sector.

Accidents are common in the country’s mines, many of which date from the mid-19th century.

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