How deadly methane gas can spelunk a 50-person coal mine

Reuters A view of the Bazhenov Mine where the coal containing poisonous gas ignited Thursday. Russian rescuers have pulled 53 miners out alive from a mine where a fire had ignited the deadly gas.

The number of miners confirmed dead after a fire sparked a toxic cloud of methane gas in a Russian coal mine has risen to 51. Seventeen others were rescued, the state-run TASS news agency reported on Thursday.

The Bazhenov mine in Siberia was able to send messages via radio to the rescue services, but in the confusion brought on by the fire and subsequent explosion, they were unable to confirm the exact number of dead and wounded. Five of the 16 miners who had been trapped alive after the accident were pulled out on Wednesday.

The accident is the latest in a series of mine disasters in Russia, which have killed 2,290 miners since the start of the year. It is also the deadliest since 24 coal miners were killed in December 2011, when a methane gas explosion in a Siberian mine killed 57.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire in the Bazhenov mine on Thursday.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


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