A Siberian coal mine explosion killed at least 51 people in Russia on Thursday, Nov. 25.

According to Russian officials, miners and rescue personnel were killed 820 feet deep in the Listvyazhnaya mine site in the Kemerovo area.

When the explosion occurred in the Listvyazhnaya mine early on Thursday morning, smoke immediately filled the mine through the ventilation system; 285 miners were at the scene. Two hundred and thirty-nine miners were rescued, 49 were injured, and 14 bodies were discovered, but the search for another 38 was called off due to the dangerous conditions.

According to sources, five rescuers suffocated as they tried to reach dozens of missing miners, while another was saved.

There was no hope of discovering any more survivors, according to emergency personnel.

The Interfax news agency reported that carbon monoxide poisoning killed the victims, citing a regional government spokesperson.

The fire was said to be triggered by a methane explosion led by a spark, according to Russia’s Deputy Prosecutor General Dmitry Demeshin.

After being rescued, the miners revealed their disbelief.

“Impact. Air. Dust. And then, we smelled gas and just started walking out, as many as we could,” rescued miners Sergey Golubin recalled, according to the Associated Press. “We didn’t even realize what happened at first and took some gas in.”

The Investigative Committee of Russia has opened a criminal probe into the deaths due to a violation of safety laws. According to the report, the mine director and two top managers were held.

The deadly accident at the Listvyazhnaya mine was not the first. A methane blast killed 13 miners in 2004.

Rostekhnadzor, Russia’s official environmental and technology watchdog, examined the Listvyazhnaya mine in April 2021 and found 139 infractions, including fire safety concerns.

Local authorities declared three days of mourning.

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