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MOSCOW, February 11 (Itar-Tass) – The death toll of the Monday morning methane explosion in the Vorkutinskaya mine has risen to 18, the Russian Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass.
“According to preliminary data at 14:20 MSK, 18 people have been killed, 10 of them have been lifted to the surface,” the ministry said.
Earlier, the RF Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) reported there were 16 dead, three injured and seven missing as a result of the methane explosion, which occurred in the mine at a depth of 800 metres.
“Fifty police officers, including 30 OMON special police force fighters of the republic’s interior department have been working at the site to maintain public order in the territory of the mine. Police officers cordoned off the incident site. Policemen of the patrol and inspection service are guarding the ventilation shaft from which EMERCOM rescuers are lifting to the surface the survived miners and dead bodies. Further measures are being taken to help the injured,” the Interior Ministry said.
Criminal proceedings have been instituted over the incident under Article 216, part 3 of the RF Criminal Code – “violation of safety rules in mining, construction or other operations, resulting in the death of two or more persons.” A forensic team of experts from the central staff of the SK who have experience in the investigation of technogenic disasters was dispatched to the scene.
The Komi Prosecutor’ssOffice has organised checks into compliance with safety rules at the mine.
Russian Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov said he was flying to Vorkuta. “I’m going to the site in order, particular, to take measures to assist the families of those killed and injured,” he said.
According to him, the Russian president has set the task to provide assistance to the families of those killed and injured. “We will promptly prepare all the decisions. The bereaved families will receive 2 million roubles,” he stressed.
Members of the response headquarters of the working group of the government commission are going to the emergency mine together with the minister. Specialists of the Centrospas team are also flying to Vorkuta by an EMERCOM plane to work on the damaged surface facilities, as well as doctors and psychologists. In addition, the plane will be equipped with two special medical modules for transporting the injured to Moscow for treatment, however this decision will be made by the doctors based on the medical condition of the injured.