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VORKUTA, February 29. /TASS/. Underground fire continues at the Severnaya coal mine in Vorkuta, northern Russia, after a series of explosions that have killed dozens of miners, Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov told reporters on Monday.
"Now the fire continues, the situation is difficult," Puchkov said, adding that no works underground are being conducted. Experts will later unveil decisions of future technological works at the mine.
A methane gas leak at the Severnaya coal mine in Vorkuta on February 25 triggered two explosions and rock collapse followed by a fire. There were 111 miners underground at the time of the blast at a depth of 780 meters, with 81 of them recovered to the surface. Bodies of four miners were found at the accident scene. The fate of 26 miners remained unknown and there has been no contact with them since the time of the blasts.
A third blast hit the mine early on Sunday during a search effort, killing five rescuers and one mine worker. Another five persons were injured.
A total of 36 people are believed to have died in the coal mine accident, Deputy Prime Minister Dvorkovich said on Sunday. Puchkov earlier said it would take at least one month to stabilize the situation at the Severnaya mine.