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Mine officials remanded in custody in Siberia after deadly blast

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By Daniel Bellamy  with AP
Mine officials remanded in custody in Siberia after deadly blast
Copyright  AP/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

The director and two senior managers of the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in Siberia have been remanded in custody for two months after a deadly methane explosion at the mine.

Authorities have released the names of 51 people presumed dead following the explosion on Thursday morning.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to victims and said the cause of the explosion was being investigated in a video conference call Saturday.

Regional officials declared three days of mourning on Friday while Russia's Investigative Committee has launched a criminal probe into potential safety violations.

A separate criminal probe has also been launched into allegations that state officials who inspected the mine earlier this month were negligent.

The casualty list with names of 46 miners and five rescuers was published online by the government of the Kemerovo region in southwestern Siberia, where the mine is located.

Authorities had initially reported 52 possible fatalities, but search teams on Friday found a survivor in what officials described as a "miracle."

A total of 285 miners were in the Listvyazhnaya mine at the time of the explosion that quickly filled the mine with toxic smoke.

Two-hundred-and-thirty-nine were rescued shortly after the blast, and more than 60 sought medical assistance for an assortment of injuries.

Officials had on Thursday confirmed 14 fatalities — 11 miners and three rescuers who perished while searching for others trapped in a remote section of the mine.

Rescuers were forced to stop several hours into their search because of a buildup of methane and carbon monoxide gas.