Rescue teams in Russia say there is still hope of saving more than 20 men trapped underground at a gold mine in south eastern Siberia. A fire broke out during welding operations, about 100 metres deep, filling the pit with smoke. So far 12 miners are known to be dead.
A local miner said: “There was welding work inside the shaft. The fire started. There was a lot of smoke. Those who had a chance escaped. Others stayed inside. My brother was among them.” The mine is in the Chita region, on the border with China. It is owned by the London based Highland Gold Company. Some of the rescuers were taken to hospital suffering from burns and smoke inhalation. More specialist mine rescue workers have been flown in from other parts of Russia. Officials say some of the stranded miners could still be alive if they managed to crawl into places were the smoke is less dense.