Rescuers searched for eight missing miners Tuesday, nearly a day after a methane gas explosion in a Siberian coal mine killed at least 102. It was Russia's deadliest mining disaster in a decade.
Some 200 workers were in the Ulyanovskaya mine in the coal-rich region known as the Kuzbass at the time of the blast, which occurred early Monday at a depth of around 270 meters (885 feet), emergency and regional officials said.
Emergency officials put the death toll at 102 miners while eight others remained missing; 93 had been rescued earlier.
Company officials and safety experts, along with a British citizen and his interpreter, were in the mine examining a British-made hazard monitoring system just before the blast occurred, said Sergei Cheremnov, a spokesman for the regional government in Kemerovo where the mine is located. The British man and the interpreter were among the dead.
The massive mine in the city of Novokuznetsk, about 3,000 kilometers (1,850 miles) east of Moscow, is operated by Yuzhkuzbassugol, an affiliate of Russian coal and steel company Evraz Group SA, which acquired a 50-percent stake in the company in 2005.
No one answered repeated calls to the company. However, company spokesman Eduard Sivtsov earlier told Russian television channel NTV that rescuers were checking a large section of the mine for survivors.
"Their work is complicated by a great number of obstructions," he said.
President Vladimir Putin ordered Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu to travel to the area, and the industrial regulatory agency Rostekhnadzor had sent investigators.
The incident was the latest to highlighted the precarious and hazardous state of Russia's mining industry, which fell into disrepair when government subsidies dried up after the Soviet collapse, reports AP.