Offbeat: Russia: mourning after a hecatomb in a Siberian mine

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  Russie: deuil après une hécatombe dans une mine de Sibérie © AFP

U N mourning three days started Friday in the Kemerovo area, in Siberia, the day after the death of 51 people, including five rescuers, during an accident in a coal mine followed by a backup operation having turned to the drama.

A rescuer, presumed dead, was found alive Friday after spending the night in the rubble of the mine, bringing back to 51 the balance sheet first fixed at 52 dead, announced the authorities, evoking a "miracle".

Investigators arrested on Thursday leaders of the mine - ownership of an oligarch - accusing them of violations that led to the disaster, one of the worst of the last ten years in the mining sector in Russia , regularly mortar.

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relatives of victims were crying Friday morning near the entrance to the site, covered with snow and where there are still many first aids, found a correspondent of the AFP .

Thursday, around 08:30 Local (01:30 GMT), the alert had been given after the presence of smoke in the Listviajnaia mine, in Gramotein, in the Kemerovo mining and industrial region.

According to local authorities, 285 people were underground. The majority has been rescued, but 46 others remained blocked several hundred meters deep.

"To the end"

A rescued minor, who did not give his name, told the Russia chain 24 have been "saved" by rescuers in the middle of a thick smoke. "I may have lost consciousness, I do not know how long has passed."

"The visibility was bad, they caught me and they shot me," said another survivor, during a report broadcast on Friday by the same chain.

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At nightfall, Thursday, the authorities announced that there were no survivors among those remaining underground, and a team of six speleologous rescuers, missing, had also succumbed.

Friday morning, one of these rescuers was finally found alive. He spent the night buried, then went alone to the surface, according to the Russian Ministry of Emergencies.

This 51-year-old man, married and a child's father, is currently hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning, said the department in a statement.

"I think it's a miracle. Our people have made a miracle," said the acting minister emergency situations, Sergei Cherprian, cited in this press release.

The five alleged dead rescuers, aged 33 to 56, will be decorated posthumously from the courage medal. "Minors, like rescuers, have done their duty to the end," said Mr. Tchouprian.

According to a parquet manager, the cause of the accident envisaged is a shot of gray, an explosion caused by a mixture between oxygen and methane. Research had been temporarily suspended on Thursday due to explosion risk.

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The Governor of the Region, Sergey Tsivilev, said that specialists would inject methane into the mine to lower the risk of new Grisou blows.

fifty people were hospitalized after the accident, according to the local Ministry of Health.


The Investigation Committee has opened an investigation for "breach of safety standards" and announced Thursday evening the arrest of the director of the mine, his deputy, as well as the head of the area where accident took place.

The site belongs to SDS-Ugol, one of the largest producers of Russian coal, owned by a multi-millionaire, Mikhail Fedev.

Friday, two responsible for inspection services for industrial sites (Rostekhnadzor), were targeted by another survey for "negligence".

Accidents in the Russian mines, as elsewhere in the ex-USSR, are often linked to laxity in the application of safety standards, mismanagement or dilapidated equipment dating back to the Soviet era.

An accident in the Listviajnaia mine had already taken place in October 2004, when an explosion had killed 13 people. According to the Russian media, a deflagration had also killed five people in 1981.

One of the worst disasters of this kind dates back to May 2010, when 91 people had perished in the Raspadskaya mine, also in the region of Kemerovo.

26/11/2021 11:38:05 - Gramoteino (Russia) (AFP) - © 2021 AFP

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