MOSCOW — Two explosions tore through Russia’s largest underground coal mine, killing at least 11 workers and injuring 41 others, an emergency services ministry official said Sunday. A further 84 people remained trapped in the mine, including rescue workers.
Ministry spokeswoman Elena Chernova said on state news TV channel Rossiya-24 that rescue work had been suspended after the second blast, which happened early Sunday morning.
The head of the emergency ministry’s regional division, Erem Arutunian, said rescue work was unlikely to resume Sunday because workers were trying to ventilate methane out of the mine, the state news agency RIA Novosti reported.
The first blast, believed to have been caused by methane, hit the Raspadskaya mine just before midnight Saturday and the second about 3 1/2 hours later. There were 359 workers below ground at the time of the first explosion, Chernova said.
The second blast destroyed the main air shaft and caused more injuries, and there is a risk of more explosions, said Aman Tuleyev, the governor of the region of Kemerovo.