Skip to comments.Ukraine Gas Blast Kills 63 Miners, Traps 37
Posted on 11/18/2007 7:15:46 PM PST by blam
Ukraine gas blast kills 63 miners, traps 37
Last Updated: 1:40am GMT 19/11/2007
A gas explosion tore through a Ukrainian mine killing at least 63 men and trapping another 37 underground in shafts engulfed by fire and smoke.
Officials said the chance of rescuing the survivors was "poor".
A pocket of methane gas detonated at around 3?am local time at the Zasyadko mine in the Donetsk region at a depth of more than 3,280 feet, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.
Yuri Zayats, the head of the Zasyadko coal mine's trade union council, said: "There is thick smoke in the shafts and for the moment rescue teams are unable to go where they are needed."
Authorities evacuated 367 miners, said Oleksandr Soldatov, a ministry spokesman. Among them, 27 were hospitalised. One was in a very serious condition.
"The temperature rose sharply - so sharply you couldn't see anything," Vitaly Kvitkovsky, a miner, told a television crew. "I put on my breathing equipment and found my way out by feeling the pipes and the rail lines."
Viktor Yanukovych, the prime minister, who visited the site, pledged that the government would help the victims' families.
"There is a blockage at the accident site formed by a cave-in, airshafts and water channels," he said.
Local authorities declared three days of mourning.
The Donetsk region is about 400 miles southeast of the capital, Kiev.
It was the deadliest mine accident in Ukraine since an explosion at the Barakova mine in the eastern Luhansk region killed 81 miners in March 2000.
The Zasyadko mine has a poor safety record. In 1999 an explosion there claimed 50 lives, while in 2001 another blast claimed 55 lives and the following year 20 died in yet another accident.
Mines in Ukraine are among the world's most dangerous. The mines are deep, use out-of-date equipment and maintain poor safety standards.
For every one million tons of coal brought to the surface, three miners lose their lives, according to official data.
More than 75 per cent of Ukraine's some 200 coal mines are classified as dangerous due to high methane concentrations.
The dangers that these people work through in order to make our modern (electronic) world function should not be underestimated.
Prayers for the victims. May they rest in peace. May the survivors be rescued quickly.
Ivan causing trouble? Didn’t they just have a spill too?
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