A miner has miraculously been pulled alive from a ‘death trap’ Russian mine where 52 people were killed in an underground explosion.
The man who had been presumed dead was hauled from the wreckage and rushed to a local hospital, according to emergencies minister Alexander Chupriyan.
A total of 46 miners and six rescuers were killed after a gas leak caused a devastating explosion 820ft underground in the Siberian pit on Thursday, in one of the worst disasters to strike the country’s coal mining heartland since Soviet times.
Some 63 people sustained injuries, with 50 of them hospitalised, and four in intensive care.
Distraught widows told local media that their husbands were ordered to work despite significant methane leaks and that everyone knew it was dangerous.
Police arrested two state safety inspectors on Friday who investigators say gave the mine a safety certificate in November without ever checking the facility.
Distraught relatives are seen at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in the town of Belovo in the Kuznetsk Coal Basin in Kemerovo Region, southwestern Siberia on Friday morning
A woman sobs near the entrance to the Listvyazhnaya coal mine, near the town of Belovo in the Kemerovo region, on Friday
Shattered relatives of the miners outside the entrance to the facility this morning
Kemerovo Region Governor Sergei Tsivilev (R) and Russia’s Acting Emergencies Minister Alexander Chupriyan are seen by the Listvyazhnaya Mine in the Kuznetsk Coal Basin, Kemerovo Region, southwestern Siberia, where an accident has occurred
The victims relatives are seen at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in the town of Belovo
Three other people, including the director of the Listvyazhnaya mine and his deputy, were arrested late on Thursday.
Some of the dead were torn to pieces in the appalling blast at the Listvyazhnaya pit in Russia’s Kemerovo region, say local accounts.
By earlier today it had only been possible to bring out six bodies.
A video shows award-winning mine director Sergey Makhrakov, 47, being detained.
His deputy, 59, and the mine’s manager, 36, plus two others were also held by Russian law enforcement.
One victim of the tragedy was miner Oleg Kovalev, 25, who had planned to wed his girlfriend Alena Kiatkina, 22, next spring.
‘The grief and despair is unbearable,’ said a local woman.
Victims: Sergey Fonderantsev, 27, with his girlfriend (left) and Maxim Golovnin, 27, with his wife (right)
Oleg Kovalyov, 25, with his girlfriend Alena, he died in the blast
Vyacheslav Yevseev, 39, with his wife and children. He was killed in the blast
Boris Piyalkin, 55, who died in the blast, with an unidentified woman
Victims: Evgeniy Samchinsky, 42, (left) and Sergey Rolin, 47
Chemistry teacher Inna Piyalkina, whose husband miner Boris Piyalkin, 55, was killed in the explsoion, echoed others in saying that the mine had suffered gas leaks ahead of the explosion.
Survivors and widows have claimed they were expected to work despite methane levels setting off sensors.
‘My husband is now gone,’ she said.
‘Everyone knew about (problems with safety at the mine).
‘Methane has been over the roof for a long time.
‘My husband had a sensor, he was wearing it on his chest…
‘It was beeping, and my husband wet it with water to stop the beeping – and they carried on working.’
She told the Russian media: ‘Every day my husband came home and saying methane was reaching 6 per cent.’
Andrey Chuvashov, 40, who died in the explosion
Evgeniy Zhalnin, 32, was among the dead
She called for bosses at the major mine to be ‘punished’.
An inspection of the mine had been carried out shortly before the blast, it was revealed.
Now those responsible for the inspection have been detained.
An unnamed miner said that those at the epicentre of the ‘huge’ explosion ‘turned into mince meat’.
Some had limbs torn off, he said.
They were ‘wiped off the earth’, he was quoted as saying.
A report said that miners had warned of increased methane gas readings at the mine, but were nevertheless ordered to work or lose pay.