Five injured by new blast at Ukraine mine

A00578179.jpgDONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – A new explosion injured five miners on Saturday at a colliery in eastern Ukraine struck by the country’s worst mining accident two weeks ago, officials said.

Ukraine’s Mining Inspectorate said 63 miners were underground when the blast occurred just before 6 a.m. — in the same section of the Zasyadko pit as last month’s deadly methane explosion. All 63 were brought to the surface.

“An explosion occurred at 5.55 a.m. in a section of the mine isolated by fire. Sixty-three people were in the immediate vicinity,” an inspectorate duty officer said.

“All have now been brought to the surface. There are no miners remaining below.”

The explosion on November 18 at the Zasyadko mine, site of four major accidents since 2001, killed 101 miners.

About 10 bodies have still to be brought out of the mine, in Donetsk in the heart of the Donbass coalfield. Fires are still burning more than 1 km below the surface.

Ukraine’s mining industry, which operates some pits dating from the 19th century, has been plagued by a long series of accidents in the post-Soviet period. A total of 192 miners have died in Donetsk region alone this year.

Zasyadko is viewed as one of Ukraine’s technically most advanced and profitable pits. But experts say that mining far below the surface at this and other Ukrainian collieries increases the risk of accidents.

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