October 4, 2008

Methane Blast Kills Six in Ukrainian Coalmine

KYIV. Oct 4 (Interfax) - Six miners were killed by a methane explosion in the Duvanna coalmine belonging to the Krasnodonvuhillya company in Sukhodilsk in the Luhansk region, Ukraine.

Methane exploded in a blind drift 520 meters under the ground at about 0:45 a.m. local time Saturday, said Ihor Krol, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Emergency Situations Ministry. The blast did not cause fire.

As many as 119 miners were working underground at the moment, and the 113 survivors were immediately evacuated to the surface, he said.

The causes and circumstances of the accident have yet to be clarified.

As many as 12 mine rescue squads and six anti-shock groups from the Coal Industry Ministry and a rescue group from the Emergency Situations Ministry's regional department are working at the company.

At First Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Turchynov's order, a government commission has been set up to investigate the accident and provide assistance to the families of the victims. The commission, which is led by Coal Industry Minister Viktor Poltavets, is working at the scene, the government press service reported on Saturday.

At least ten people have been killed in coalmines in the Luhansk region in 2008 and over 1,000 have been evacuated from the mines because of fire or smoke.

One of the deadliest accidents in Ukrainian coalmines occurred in the Barakov coalmine in the Luhansk region in March 2000, when a methane and coal dust explosion killed 80 miners.

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