16 dead, 10 missing in Ukraine mine blast

2011-07-29 09:03

Kiev - Sixteen miners died and another 10 were missing after a nighttime explosion in a coalmine in the Lugansk region in eastern Ukraine, the emergencies ministry said on Friday.

As a result of the accident, two more workers received burn injuries and were hospitalised, the ministry said in a statement.

"The fate of 10 miners remains unknown," said the Kiev-based emergencies ministry, adding that a total of 28 people worked at the mine when the explosion occurred at 01:57 local time on Friday.

A spokesperson for the emergencies ministry's local branch in Luganks, confirmed the number of dead.

He said however that three miners were hospitalised, while nine remained trapped in the coalmine. He could not say whether they were dead or alive.

Ukraine's energy minister Yury Boiko went to the scene of the accident at the Sukhodolskaya-Vostochnaya Coal Mine, part of the Krasnodonugol mining company, to personally take charge of the rescue operation.

Officials did not provide details on the cause of the blast. Most of the country's mine disasters have been caused by build-ups of methane gas.

Deadly accidents are frequent in the Ukrainian mines, most of which are located in the country's industrial eastern region. Many of the mines are underfunded and poorly equipped, while safety violations are rife.