A devastating methane gas explosion in the Listvyazhnayacoalmine mine, in the Kemerovo region, Siberia, on Thursday, left 52 miners and rescuers dead about 250 meters (820ft) underground. The most died of carbon monoxide poisoning. The blast sent smoke that quickly filled the mine through the ventilation system. A total of 239 people were rescued. This was one of Russia’s worst mining disasters since Soviet times. Russia’s deputy prosecutor general, Dmitry Demeshin, supposed the methane explosion was caused by a spark. Explosions of methane released from coal beds during mining are rare. However, they cause the most fatalities in the coal mining industry. Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal probe into the fire over violations of safety regulations that led to deaths. The mine director and two senior managers were also detained. The Committee would charge and remand in custody two safety inspectors who issued a certificate for the mine this month but had not actually checked the facility.
Previously, in the last years, there were other deadly methane explosions at the Listvyazhnaya mine. Russia’s state technology and ecology watchdog, Rostekhnadzor, inspected the mine in April and registered 139 violations on safety regulation. Russia now morns the victims of the tragic accident. Governor Sergey Tsivilyov declared three days of mourning on November 26-28. „We will provide all necessary assistance to the families of those who died or were harmed,” the governor’s press service announced. President Vladimir Putin extended his condolences to the families of the dead and ordered the government to offer all necessary assistance to those injured.