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Blast-hit coalmine in north Russia to be flooded

March 06, 2016, 11:02 UTC+3

"Localization and extinguishing of the fire inside the mine will be made by flooding the mine," the press service of the mine operating company said

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MOSCOW, March 6. /TASS/. The committee, which was organized after an explosion of methane, which killed miners and rescuers, made a decision the mine would be flooded, press service of the mine operating company said on Sunday.

"Localization and extinguishing of the fire inside the mine will be made by flooding the mine," the press service said. "Water pumping will begin within hours. This decision has been approved by the governmental commission."

The operation's term is estimated at 60-80 days.

"Right now continues work on technical approaches to speed up pumping of the water from the mine. When this is done, clearing the debris and search for bodies will continue. The [operating] company plans to resume work at the mine, though speaking about possible time of that is not possible now."

On Friday, Russia’s Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov rejected information that work had started to flood the blast-hit Severnaya coalmine. "This information is untrue. Only pre-project solutions are being prepared by experts now," the emergencies minister told journalists.

A methane burst at the Severnaya coalmine in Vorkuta on February 25 triggered two blasts and rock collapse followed by a fire.

There were 111 coalminers underground at the time of the explosion at a depth of 780 meters, with 81 of them recovered to the surface. Four miners died and another nine were injured in the accident. The fate of 26 miners remained unknown and there had been no contact with them since the time of the blasts.

A third blast hit the mine early on Sunday during a search and rescue operation, killing six persons, including 5 rescuers. Another five persons were injured.

A total of 36 people are considered as dead in the coalmine accident, Deputy Prime Minister Dvorkovich said on February 28.

"There are many people who have died. There is no hope that 26 coalminers who were in the coalmine are alive. It can be said that a total of 36 people have become the victims, including the dead rescuers," Dvorkovich said.

"This is a grave and extraordinary situation, a big disaster for Russia and for our coal industry," the vice premier said.

Emergencies Minister Puchkov said a week earlier there were actually no chances for 26 coalminers trapped underground in the coalmine blast in north Russia to survive.

‘We have to state that all the parameters that have evolved at the accident-hit section of the coalmine do not allow anyone to survive," the minister said.

According to the minister, "the data show that there are high temperatures and no oxygen in the area of the underground space where 26 coalminers were staying."

"Precisely this section was the epicenter of the third explosion," the minister added.

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