Explosions Kill 11 in Russia’s Largest Coal Mine

Tragedy has struck Russia’s largest coal mine, as 11 people were killed and 41 others injured after two explosions struck the Raspadskaya underground mine. An Emergency Service Ministry official said rescue efforts to save more than 80 people trapped inside the mine were called off after the second of the two explosions.

The first explosion struck just around midnight on Saturday before the second, more powerful blast occurred three and a half hours later. Officials said rescue work was called off due to risk of more explosions. Gov. Aman Tuleyev of the west Siberian region of Kemorovo, where the mine is located, said “the rescue work will continue when the atmosphere in the mine is restored, but to conduct rescue work now means to send people to die.”

It is still not clear what set off the explosions, but authorities suspect that the first blast was caused by methane. Mine explosions are common in Russia, with inadequate safety precautions blamed for most of the incidents.