With 63 deaths now confirmed, and little hope of finding any of the remaining 37 missing miners alive, the Zasiadko mine disaster looks likely to become Ukraine’s worst-ever. The rest of the miners underground at the time of the methane explosion, more than 360 men, were able to escape. 28 of them are in hospital.
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, who is from the Donetsk coalfield region, was quickly on scene to comfort families and question the mine’s managers.
“The safety inspectors confirm the mine was being worked according to the regulation work plan, but we’ll leave the final conclusions to the commission,” said Yanukovich.
President Viktor Yushchenko will visit the mine today. He’s criticised the government for not doing enough to modernise the mining sector. The survivors all say that disaster struck without warning.
“I heard the sound of an explosion, and then the temperature rose sharply, so sharply I couldn’t see anything,” said one survivor.