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MOSCOW, February 29. /TASS/. The Severnaya mine in Vorkuta, a coal-mining town in Russia’s Komi republic, situated just north of the Arctic Circle, has been rocked by another blast after rescue operations were completed there, acting chief of the militarized mine rescue units of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry Vladlen Aksenov said on Monday. The blast was more powerful than the third explosion that killed mine rescuers.
"Sampling of the atmosphere in the mine showed that a gas dynamic event took place there at 22:24, Moscow time on February 28. The blast was two times more powerful than the event in which mine rescuers were injured (during the night of February 28)," he said at a briefing.
There were no people in the mine at that moment.
There was a sudden methane outburst and two explosions that caused rock collapse in the Severnaya mine at a depth of 780 meters on February 25 in the afternoon. Then a fire started behind the debris.
There were 111 miners underground at the moment of the accident. During the first hours after the blast 81 miners were lifted to the surface, nine of them sought medical attention and six were taken to hospital. The fate of 26 miners remained unknown.
There was a third blast in the mine on February 28 during the night where the search and rescue efforts were underway. The blast killed six people, including five mine rescuers of the Pechora militarized mine rescue detachment of the Russian Emergencies Ministry and one mine worker. Another five people were injured.
The Russian emergencies minister told reporters later that the 26 miners who remained in the mine actually had not chances of survival. So the death toll of the tragedy has risen to 36 people, including the killed mine rescuers. "We have to state that all the parameters that have evolved at the accident-hit section of the coalmine do not allow anyone to survive," the minister said on Sunday. According to the minister, "the data show that there are high temperatures and no oxygen in the area of the underground space where 26 coalminers were staying." "Precisely this section was the epicenter of the third explosion," the minister added.
The technical director of Vorkutaugol, which operates the Severnaya coalmine, has said there are no survivors in the coalmine blast. "The technical council has analyzed all the data and the situation at the accident-hit section of the coalmine and has come to the conclusion that there are no persons there who have survived," Denis Paikin said.
The Vorkutaugol technical director also said no rescue works could be carried out at the mine. "The dangerous zone of works has been recalculated and extended. It doesn’t seem possible to carry out any works," he said.
A three-day morning was declared in the Komi republic after the tragedy. The funerals of four miners were held in the republic on Monday.