The number of victims at the Taizhina mine in Kuzbass (Osinniki town in the Kemerovo region - Siberia) has increased to eight people, spokesman for the Kemerovo region's civil defense and emergencies department Valery Korchagin has told RIA Novosti.
According to the initial reports, 52 miners were in the mine when the accident happened, but this is not accurate information because a few more miners might have been in the coal-face, said Mr. Korchagin.
He recalled that 13 miners had been earlier rescued, with two of them now in hospital. Doctors assess their condition as medium grave.
According to specified information, the accident took place 560 meters under the surface at 6.55 a.m. local time (2.55 a.m. Moscow time).
"It must have been a methane explosion," said Mr. Korchagin.
The prosecutor's office of Osinniki has launched an investigation into the accident in accordance with the article "violation of safety regulations during mining works, resulting in the death of two and more people through negligence." The chronicle of the recent tragic accidents at Russian coal mines since 2000:
March 21, 2000 - 12 rescuers died during the rescue efforts after a gas explosion in the Komsomolets mine (Kemerovo region);
January 13, 2002 - a methane explosion caused fire in the Vorkutinskaya mine (Komi republic, northwestern federal district), killing five miners.
June 16, 2003 - 12 miners were killed by an accident at the Ziminka mine (Kemerovo region);
October 23, 2003 - water inrush occurred at the depth of 200 meters in the Zapadnaya mine (Rostov region, southern federal district). Forty-six miners were trapped underground. Two days later, rescuers discovered and raised 33 people to the surface. The others spent over five days in the mine. A unique rescue operation on October 29 helped evacuate the miners. Two people died.
On October 29, 2003 - a methane explosion at the Tsentralnaya mine (the Far East) claimed six lives.
On January 10, 2004 - five miners died as a result of a methane explosion at the Sibirskaya mine (Kemerovo region). Fifteen people received burns and injuries.