15 trapped after Russian mine blast: reports
An explosion in a Russian coal mine Saturday trapped 15 miners and injured two others, officials said, adding that rescue efforts were under way, domestic news agencies reported.
"An explosion took place at 2:00 am (2200 GMT) at the Krasnogorskaya mine in the Kemerovo region," about 3,500 kilometres (2,200 miles) east of Moscow, a spokeswoman for the emergency situations ministry told Interfax news agency.
Sixty-seven people were working underground at the time of the blast, she said, adding that 52 had been evacuated. Two of them were hospitalised for burn injuries.
Six rescue teams had been despatched, she added.
Initial reports said the accident appeared to be a methane gas explosion.
Deadly mine accidents are relatively common in Russia because of ageing infrastructure, violations of ventilation safety requirements and tampering with gas-level monitoring equipment.
In May, at least 66 miners and rescue workers died in methane blasts at a coal mine in southern Siberia.
The disaster was the second deadliest mining accident in Russia's post-Soviet history after a tragedy that claimed 110 lives at a different mine in the same region in 2007.
© 2010 AFP