MOSCOW, March 9. /TASS/. A water pumping operation to liquidate accident’s consequences at the Severnaya coalmine in the city of Vorkuta in Russia’s northwest will take at least two months, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said on Wednesday.
"It will take at least two months to complete the works. This stage may be over by the end of May," Dvorkovich said. "But there exist a scenario in which the operations may continue until this year’s July."
On March 6, the water pumping operation started at the coalmine to extinguish fire and ongoing methane explosions that already killed 36 miners and rescuers.
According to the initial plan, nitrogen injection to the coalmine was proposed to deal with the accident’s consequences, but the option appeared to be technically not viable.
On March 6, Tatiana Bushkova, a spokeswoman for the mine’s operator company Vorkutaugol, told TASS they plan "to flood Severnaya within 60 to 80 days."
A methane outburst followed by two explosions occurred at the Severnaya mine in northern Russia at a depth of 780 meters on February 25. The blasts caused the rock to collapse, followed by the fire, later erupted at the scene.
Nine people were hurt in the accident. A total of 111 people were underground when the methane exploded. Eighty-one of them were raised to the surface in the first hours after the accident. The fate of another 26 miners trapped underground remained unknown. Seventy mine rescuers from Russia’s Kemerovo region arrived in Vorkuta by plane on February 26.
The third explosion hit the Severnaya mine early on February 28 killing six more people and injuring another five.
Russian Vice-Premier Arkady Dvorkovich, who is heading a governmental commission for helping the injured miners and the families of the dead, put the final death toll at 36.
The Russian Investigative Committee is probing a criminal case launched in connection with the Severnaya mine accident.