MOSCOW, January 20 (RIA Novosti) – At least four miners died early on Sunday as a result of smoke inhalation during an accident at a coal mine in southwestern Siberia’s Kemerovo Region, local emergencies services reported.
A total of 77 miners were working underground at the mine No. 7 in the Prokopyevsky district when smoke started spreading though the tunnels at around 02.15 a.m. Moscow time [22:15 GMT on Saturday].
An initial report said one miner died and seven were missing, but an update at 04.55 a.m. [00.30 GMT] added three more victims to the death toll. Sixty-nine people have been successfully evacuated.
“Rescuers have discovered three more bodies. The fate of the four missing miners remains unknown as the search for them continues,” the latest official report said.
Kemerovo Region Governor Aman Tuleyev is personally leading the rescue effort.
Kemerovo is part of Russia’s major coal-producing Kuzbass region.