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Russian coal mine blast kills two

23 January 2014

Two coal miners were killed in a methane gas blast at a Siberian pit on January 22, Reuters quoted Russian officials as saying. The victims were among 105 miners who had been underground at the Dzerzhinsky mine in the Kemerovo region city of Prokopyevsk at the time of the blast, the regional administration said. The rest made it safely to the surface.

The privately owned mine is in a coal-rich section of central Siberia known as the Kuzbass.

Fatal accidents are frequent in Russia's ageing pits despite improvements in safety since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Most accidents have been attributed to methane gas blasts, negligence or a failure to follow safety regulations. A methane blast at a coal mine in northern Russia last February killed 18 miners.

The cause of the blast was unknown. The regional administration said an investigation was underway.

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