The success of the rescue operation on Zapadnaya-Kapitalnaya mine in the Rostov region was largely due to courage and correct actions of stranded miners, announced organizers of the rescue operation during a press conference in RIA Novosti on Monday.
"Only coordinated efforts of the rescue headquarters and courage and correct actions of the miners stranded in the mine ensured the overall success of the operation," stated head of the Donbass branch of the RF Energy Ministry Sergei Mikhalev. He admitted that the miners "impressed him with their correct and organized behavior." "They created a temporary base, organized reconnaissance, saved and kept a telephone above water level, and later connected it to a cable and called the surface." Representative of the RF Energy Ministry Vladimir Artemyev underlined that that the rescue operation at Zapadnaya mine "is unique in terms of the number of people who were stranded and then successfully rescued." He pointed out that the length of the way to safety was 7.5 km. The drilling rate during works on the tunnel between Zapadnaya and Komsomolskaya Pravda mines was three times faster than normal.
According to Mr. Artemyev, 88 people died as a result of accidents on various mines in Russia this year. He also stressed that "it is an unfortunate but inevitable reality of any country that has mineral resources industry." "People work under extreme conditions underground," Mr. Artemyev emphasized.
According to data collected by an international organization monitoring the safety at mines, reported that 385,000 incidents on mines have been registered in the entire world from January until May this year. As a result of these incidents, 48,500 people died, and it is 7.8 percent less than during the same period of last year.
According to RF First Deputy Energy Minister Leonid Tropko, safety conditions on the Zapadnaya mine were "poor, to say the least." "The Energy Ministry, together with other federal agencies, is developing a special program of actions aimed at future prevention of such accidents," Mr. Tropko underlined.
54 rescue workers have been awarded orders and medals for a successful rescue of 44 miners stranded in the flooded Zapadnaya-Kapitalnaya mine. Russian President Vladimir Putin personally handed the awards to the rescuers during a ceremony in the Kremlin on Monday.