Russian coal mine: 4 bodies found

2010-10-02 20:15

Moscow - Russian news agencies are reporting that authorities in western Siberia have recovered the bodies of four miners among 23 missing and presumed dead in May's coal mine blasts.

Sixty-seven bodies were recovered in the days following the two methane blasts at the Raspadskaya mine, Russia's largest, in Kemerovo, about 3 000km east of Moscow.

Saturday's find leaves 19 still missing. Authorities have been hampered in their recovery efforts by fires and dangerous concentrations of methane.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in May that Russia's mining industry suffers on average around 100 deaths a year, but last year the figure spiked to 217.

He called for higher wages to discourage excessive overtime, more stringent safety checks, and drugs and alcohol bans.