An explosion killed 51 people and injured 49 at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in Russia’s Kemerovo region on November 25. There were 285 miners in the mine when the incident occurred, and 46 of them were killed by the explosion. Five rescuers also died of asphyxiation after entering the mine to retrieve bodies and help trapped miners.
Russia’s Investigative Committee for the Kemerovo region said investigators detained the first deputy and site manager of the Listvyazhnaya mine for violating industrial safety requirements for hazardous production facilities.
The incident occurred after a mine shaft was filled with gas, likely methane, which then ignited around 08:35 local time. The Listvyazhnaya mine is located about 2175 miles (3500 km) east of Moscow. Russia’s Emergencies Ministry (EMERCOM) said 285 people were inside the mine at the time of the explosion and that 239 were able to reach the surface. The official death toll was initially reported as 11, while 35 miners were said to be missing. A total of 49 people required treatment in the hospital, mainly due to smoke inhalation. Four of the injured were said to be in serious condition.
A rescue operation was launched in the afternoon, with several rescue teams entering the mine. The operation was halted when high levels of methane were detected in the mine, however, a team of six rescuers was unable to leave the mine. The bodies of three rescuers were later recovered, while three more were still missing. Rescue operations were suspended until the morning of November 26, when one of the missing rescuers emerged alive from the mine. He was rushed to hospital with moderate carbon monoxide poisoning, EMERCOM said. It was confirmed that the two remaining rescuers had died, probably from asphyxiation.
As part of a site visit, the acting head of EMERCOM rescue teams Alexander Chupriyan continues to take air samples at the mine to determine the level of risk. “Mine inspection is a long process. Now it is necessary to displace the oxygen in the mine to avoid a second explosion,” Chupriyan said. He also emphasized that rescue teams will find the best solution to continue search operations.
On 26 November, Chupriyan confirmed that all the missing miners had died. “On November 25, the tragedy at the Listvyazhnaya mine in the Kemerovo region claimed the lives of 51 people. At the time of the accident, there were 285 miners in the mine. It was possible to get 239 people out of the mine. Unfortunately, 46 miners died. During the search and rescue operations, 5 mining rescuers from the Paramilitary Mining Rescue Unit of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations were killed. Mine rescuers, like miners, did their duty to the end. We mourn immensely for the dead miners and rescuers. This is a great tragedy for the whole country and for the Russian Ministry of Emergencies. On my own behalf and on behalf of the entire EMERCOM team from Russia, I express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the dead miners and rescuers.