Death Toll in Russian Mine Disaster Rises to 36 After Explosion During Rescue Attempt

A train drives through a tunnel at the Severnaya coal mine in Russia's icy north. (PHOTO CREDIT: Maxim Marmur / AFP / Getty Images)
A train drives through a tunnel at the Severnaya coal mine in Russia’s icy north. (PHOTO CREDIT: Maxim Marmur / AFP / Getty Images)

Russian authorities say the death toll from a mine disaster has risen to 36 after an explosion during an attempt to rescue trapped miners Sunday, according to state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

Sunday’s blast killed six people, including five rescue personnel.

In its wake, Russia’s Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov told reporters that there was virtually no chance of survival for any of the 26 miners who had been trapped since Thursday in the Severnaya coal mine in the city of Vorkuta.

Three days of mourning have been declared in Komi Republic, the icy region of Russia’s polar north where the mine is located, Russia state media reported.

The emergency began on Thursday, when two explosions at a depth of 780 meters (about half a mile) ripped through the Severnaya mine, causing a rock collapse and fire. Authorities think the blasts were caused by a sudden leak of methane gas.

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SOURCE: CNN, Tim Hume, Tina Burnside and Radina Gigova

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