VORKUTINSKAYA MINE, the Komi Republic, February 12 (Itar-Tass) - The bodies of seventeen miners who died in a methane blast at Vorkutinskaya mine early on Monday have been raised to the surface, Sergei Moiseyev, the mine’s chief engineer, told an emergency meeting held by Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov.
“Seventeen miners have been raised to the surface. The methane concentration in the blast-affected section is decreasing and has already dropped to 4%”, Moiseyev said.
The body of the 18th missing miner was found 15 meters away from the longwall. His body is being lifted to the surface too. Works to degas and ventilate the mine are under way. Moiseyev said that they would finish in 1.5 or 2 hours.
For his part, Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov warned that the operation should stop immediately if there was even the slightest threat to the life and health of the mine rescuers.
Eighteen people died and three more were injured in a methane blast explosion at Vorkutinskaya mine early on Monday. One miner has been taken to Moscow for treatment.
In the meantime, a reserve of gear and equipment for mine rescuers will be created in Vorkuta, according to Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov, who visited the Vorkutinskaya mine on Monday.
“I’ve decided that an Il-76 plane will leave Moscow soon to deliver the gear and equipment. This is going to be a reserve for the mine rescuers who will cover the whole region,” Puchkov emphasized.