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    Death toll in Russian coal mine blasts reaches 13

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    The death count in explosions at the Raspadskaya coal mine in West Siberia has climbed to 13, the mine director said Monday.

    The death count in explosions at the Raspadskaya coal mine in West Siberia has climbed to 13, the mine director said Monday.

    "Rescuers have discovered one more miner without vital signs," Igor Volkov said.

    Two blasts occurred at Russia's largest coal mine in the space of four hours late on Saturday and early on Sunday. Twelve people were killed, some 60 injured and about 80 trapped.

    Russia's Investigative Committee confirmed the death toll. "In all, rescuers lifted six bodies to the surface during the night; seven were lifted the day before," a spokeswoman said.

    Residents of the town of Mezhdurechensk said the explosions affected everyone in the town.

    "In our town, everyone is connected in some way to the coal mining business. Either they work in the mines themselves or someone close to them does. The Raspadskaya tragedy has affected everyone," a resident said.

    The population of the town and adjacent villages is around 80,000. The vast majority of residents work for one of three coal mining companies: Mezhdurechye, Southern Kuzbass and Raspadskaya.

    Emergency Situations Minister Sergey Shoigu, who arrived at the site, said he hopes survivors will be recovered.

    "There is always a chance of recovery. In the Rostov Region we recovered people alive after seven days," he said referring to a similar incident in the south of Russia.

    It was unclear immediately what caused the blasts.

    President Dmitry Medvedev instructed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to establish a government commission to deal with the blasts' aftermath.

    KEMEROVO/MEZHDURECHENSK, May 10 (RIA Novosti)

     

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