More than 50 killed in Russia coal mine explosion

Five individuals are now in a two-month pre-trial detention hold by the Russian government after 51 people – 46 workers and five rescue team members – were killed in a methane-fueled blast at the Listvyazhnaya mine near Belovo, in the Kemerovo region of southwestern Siberia, Russia, on 25 November.

According to the Associated Press, the Russian Emergency Ministry said the original death toll of 52 was corrected because it located a survivor in the rubble. The government of the Kemerovo region released the names of the victims on 27 November.

The crew involved in the explosion were located about 250 meters, or 820 feet, underground, during the morning hours last week. A total of 285 miners were in the Listvyazhnaya mine at the time of explosion.

AP noted that 239 people were rescued shortly after the blast, and more than 60 sought medical assistance for an assortment of injuries. Rescue efforts were halted a few hours into the initial search because of gas buildups.

Russian authorities believe the incident is the deadliest to occur in the country since 2010. That year, two methane explosions and a fire killed 91 workers at the Raspadskaya mine, also in the Kemerovo region.

A criminal probe into the explosion has begun. In the meantime, the Business and Human rights Resource Centre said the Central District Court in the city of Kemerovo has jailed the director of the Listvyazhnaya mine, Sergei Makhrakov, his deputy Andrei Molostvov and section supervisor Sergei Gerasimenok. They each face seven years of imprisonment.

Sergei Vinokurov and Vyacheslav Semykin, two officials of the local branch of Rostekhnadzor, Russia’s state technology and ecology watchdog, are also been jailed for a two-month stint and are being charged with negligence. That is punishable by up to seven years in prison as well, the outlet said.

Sources: Associated Press and the Business and Human Resource Centre