Five more bodies found in Russian mine after May blasts

3rd October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Workers have found five bodies in flooded tunnels of a Siberian mine, raising the death toll from gas explosions in May that killed at least 68 people, a Russian news agency reported Sunday.

Workers reconstructing the mine discovered the bodies after pumping water out of tunnels and have already lifted one of the dead to the surface, the RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing the chief investigator's office.

Previously officials said that at least 68 people were killed in a pair of methane gas blasts on May 8 in the Raspadskaya coal mine, Russia's largest underground coal mine, located in the coal-rich Kemerovo region.

More than 20 miners were listed as missing in the disaster, which was the deadliest in post-Soviet history.

Investigators said last month that attempts to recover bodies were hindered by fires that were still burning in coal seams, while most of the areas where the blasts occurred were flooded.

Mining accidents are common in Russia due to lax safety standards and the fact that low-waged miners are paid according to quotas, tempting them to deactivate methane detectors and continue working in dangerous conditions.

© 2010 AFP

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