At least 11 dead and 46 trapped underground after fire in coal mine

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A fire in a Russian mine has left at least 11 people dead and up to 46 trapped 820ft underground.

Four people are in a critical condition and dozens in hospital after coal dust caught fire in a ventilation shaft at the Listvyazhnaya mine.

It was filled with smoke leaving some with smoke poisoning, the TASS news agency reports.

News agency Interfax earlier claimed an explosion occurred, citing unnamed technical supervision authorities.

Emergency services launched a rescue operation this morning in sub-zero temperatures.

Around 285 people were thought to be inside at the time of the disaster, with at least 239 making it above ground.

Communication has been lost with the remaining workers, Regional Governor Sergei Tsivilev said.

But there is no longer heavy smoke in the mine which still has electricity and ventilation, he added.

Mr Tsivilev said: ‘For now there is no heavy smoke, so we hope that there is no fire.

At least 11 are dead and others said to be in ‘serious conditions’, it’s reported (Picture: KP/The SIberian Times)
The blaze took place at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in the town of Belovo (Picture: TASS)
Rescuers raced to the scene this morning (Picture: AP)

‘We have no communication lines with these people, the underground communications system is not working.’

The regional branch of Russia’s Investigative Committee is probing the tragedy.

An earlier statement said: ‘According to preliminary data, a number of workers suffered from smoke poisoning. The number of victims is being specified.’

Listvyazhnaya is part of SDS-Ugol, one of Russia’s biggest coal mining companies.

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