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Coal mine suffered from methane outburst in Russia's north to be flooded — mine operator

Required equipment and materials are available but a legal point is a barrier, the operator says, such work shall not be performed until the court recognizes 26 miners trapped inside as fatalities

SYKTYVKAR, March 3. /TASS/. Severnaya coalmine in north Russia where the accident with fatalities took place will be flooded with water to stop burning and continuing explosions. Such a decision was made by the accident response technical board, mine operator Vorkutaugol told TASS on Thursday.

"The final decision was made to flood the mine. The company is ready to start this work even tomorrow. Required equipment and materials are available but a legal point is a barrier. Such work shall not be performed until the court decides to recognize 26 miners as fatalities," representative of Vorkutaugol Andrei Kharaikin told TASS.

It is further planned to pump out water and start recovering bodies of miners after flooding. The issue of mine rehabilitation will be decided later on. An initial option of fire extinguishing by injecting nitrogen into the mine was finally abandoned. It is impossible to descend into the mine to build partitions for nitrogen injection because burning and massive explosions in the mine continue.

A sudden methane outburst occurred at the Severnaya coalmine in the Republic of Komi in north Russia on February 25, triggering two blasts. A third blast occurred during a search and rescue operation at the coalmine overnight to February 28, killing six people, including five rescuers.

Overall, 36 people can be considered as dead in the coalmine accident, including the rescuers who died during the rescue operation, said Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who is in charge of the government commission for rendering support to the relatives of the accident’s victims.