Russian authorities executed a rescue mission to help dozens trapped underground by a massive explosion at an eastern Russian mine. Six of the rescue workers died.

Local emergency services informed TASS that at least eleven miners were ‘wiped from the face of earth’ by the first blast. This occurred when coal dust ignited in a ventilation shaft around 820ft under the surface at the Listvyazhnaya Mine in the Kemerovo Region. 

Officials stated that 239 people out of 285 were evacuated from the mine, however 46 miners who remained in the mine died after they became trapped and ran out oxygen. 

Because of concerns that methane levels might trigger an explosion, the rescue operation was stopped on Thursday afternoon.

Sergei Tsivilev, regional governor, stated that there is a high chance of an explosion. We have decided to stop the rescue and search operations until gas concentrations drop.

Tsivilev stated, “For the moment there isn’t any heavy smoke so we hope there’s no fire.” 

“We don’t have any communication with them, as the underground communications system doesn’t work.”

A second explosion was also reported by locals at the coal mine around twelve hours following the initial one. 

Dmitry Demeshin, Deputy Prosecutor General, told reporters the cause of the fire was most likely a methane explosion due to a spark. Russia’s Investigative Committee launched an investigation into the incident over safety regulations violations that caused deaths. 

According to the committee, the investigation led to the detention of two top managers and the director of the mine. 

Kemerovo in the coal-producing regions of Russia, about 2,175 mi east of Moscow has experienced fatal mine accidents over years. Today’s accident has led to three days mourning. 

An explosion deep underground at a coal mine in Russia's Siberia region has killed 52 people and injured dozens more. Rescue workers are pictured carrying out the body of one miner.

A blast deep below ground at a Siberia coal mine has resulted in 52 deaths and many more injuries. One miner was killed when rescue workers carried him out.

The blast took place 820ft below the surface at Listvyazhnaya coal mine in Siberia shortly after 9am Thursday, when coal dust in the ventilation ducts caught fire. Pictured: Rescuers at the scene

It occurred at 820ft beneath the surface of Listvyazhnaya Coal Mine in Siberia, shortly after 9am on Thursday. Pictured: The rescue crews on the spot 

Efforts to rescue those trapped in the mine were halted on Thursday afternoon because of an explosion threat, and rescuers were rushed out of the mine, administrators told the Interfax news agency. Pictured: Emergency services personnel erect a tent during the search mission

Administrators told Interfax that rescue efforts to save those stuck in the mine had been halted by an explosion threat on Thursday afternoon. Pictured: During the rescue mission, emergency services personnel set up a tent.

Rescuers began conducting a search operation at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in the Kemerovo region on Thursday following the explosion, but the rescue operation was halted amid fears of a further explosion

After the initial explosion in Listvyazhnaya, a rescue team began to search the area. But the rescue effort was cut short by fears of another explosion.

The families of the victims of the mining explosion can be seen at the site of the blast on Thursday night as the rescue mission was halted

As the rescue operation was stopped, the families of those who were killed in the mine explosion are visible at the scene.

Pictured: The relatives of the victims are seen in a bus at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine on Thursday evening

Pictured: On Thursday night, relatives of victims were seen riding in a bus to the Listvyazhnaya mine.

Specialists take part in a rescue operation following a fire in the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in the Kemerovo region. The rescue operation has since been halted due to fears of a further explosion

After a fire broke out at Listvyazhnaya’s coal mine in Kemerovo, specialist took part in a rescue effort. Due to the possibility of another explosion, the rescue effort was stopped.

The mine had 154 rescuers, who were all able to inspect the situation. Local sources said 11 miles worth of tunnels, out of 25 total miles. The rescue operation had to be stopped.   

Interfax stated that an explosion caused the emergency by the mine. According to Interfax, fire was raging inside a ventilation tunnel.

Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that the explosion resulted from an “equipment failure” or other natural causes.

There were reports that there was hope the missing men found an air pocket underneath the fire, and some distance away from it. The men did not make contact.

According to an unnamed miner, those who were at the epicenter of the “huge” explosion “turned into mince meat,” with others having their limbs torn. 

He said, “They were removed from the Earth.” 

Tsivilev, Governor, stated that eleven miners perished in the blast. Over 40 were hospitalized with smoke poisoning, some for their injuries. Helicopters were used to transport the injured to hospital.

Tsivilev stated that 43 people were admitted to hospital with injuries. Four of these patients are in serious condition.

The ‘unstable gas levels’ at the mine about 2,200 miles east from capital Moscow caused rescue teams to be unable to reach their destination.  

Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed to be preparing Russians for worse news tomorrow morning.

“Unfortunately, the situation isn’t getting better. There’s also a risk to the lives rescuers…We’ll hope that they can save as many people possible,’ he stated on television.

One of the wives of missing miners stated that they were praying for miracles. 

Alexander Chupriyan (Minister of Emergency Situations) confirmed prior to the suspension that rescuers were ‘already finding bodies. 

People are seen outside the building of the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in the town of Belovo in the Kuznetsk Coal Basin in Kemerovo Region, southwestern Siberia

The Listvyazhnaya Coal Basin, Kemerovo Region is surrounded by people.

The blast took place at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine shortly after 9am local time when coal dust in the ventilation ducts caught fire

The fire caused an explosion which badly damaged the mine, with 43 people evacuated injured and two left in serious condition

The blast took place at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine shortly after 9am local time when coal dust in the ventilation ducts caught fire

Miner Nikolay Alimov said, while on medical leave, that there was a kind of explosion. Many have been poisoned from carbon monoxide. 

After talking with his brother, who had escaped the mine’s stricken area, he revealed that some miners managed to rescue others.

A pitman stated that he had just begun his shift and was about to descend 600m when he heard a loud clang.

“There was no dust to breath. I started suffocating. My self-rescue plan didn’t work. I wouldn’t have gone down. 

“On your previous shifts, the gas could be smelled. It is against safety regulations to work while you are smelling gas.

“But bosses insisted we should work. “If you don’t feel satisfied, leave and get fired,” they told me.

A second miner stated that they were on the first shift and started at 9:00 AM. After walking 400m down, we smelled burning. It became difficult to breathe suddenly.

“We turned on our self rescue kit and got out.”

Local emergencies sources stated: “According to preliminary information, no one has sustained bodily injury.”

They inhaled the smoke (as a result) of the explosion.

Russia’s technology watchdog claims that an explosion took place in the mine’s main airway. The investigation of the fire is now being conducted by the police.

Vladimir Putin offered his condolences and asked for all the assistance that could be provided to injured miners. 

Specialists of Russian Emergencies Ministry carry a tent during a rescue operation following a fire at the coal mine

Russian Emergencies Ministry Specialists carry a tent when they rescue workers from a burning coal mine.

Specialists take part in a rescue operation following a fire in the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in the Kemerovo region, Russia on Thursday

On Thursday, specialists participated in an operation to rescue a coal mine fire at Listvyazhnaya in Russia’s Kemerovo Region.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, too, was in a dark mood. He offered little hope that the men would be rescued.

He said that an emergency situation had arisen in Kemerovo today. “People were injured and died in an explosion at Listvyazhnaya’s mine.

“I’m deeply shocked at what happened. It is a tragedy for the area, the people and for us all.

After the explosion Kemerovo has established a period of three days mourning. 

The Listvyazhnaya mine was set up in 1956 and is owned by the SDS-Ugol company, one of Russia’s biggest coal mining companies.  

According to Russian media reports, 13 miners were killed in a methane explosion in 2004, while five others died in an additional blast at the same site in 1981.

Reports of the missing differed due to confusion over the exact number of miners in the mine when the blast happened, but some reports put the number as high as 75

Firemen work at the site of the explosion which is near the city of Listvyazhnaya, in Russia's eastern Siberian regions

The reports of missing vary due to uncertainty over how many miners were in the mine at the time of the blast. However, some reports place the figure as high as 75.

Police swap news at the site of a mine explosion in Siberia in the early hours of Thursday

At the Siberia site of an explosion of mines, two police officers exchange information in the early hours Thursday morning

Poor safety standards and a poor oversight of work conditions are some of the reasons that mining accidents happen in Russia, and other former Soviet Union countries.

17 people were killed in an accident at Siberia’s illegal gold mine when a dam burst, one of the deadliest recent events.

In the same month, three persons were also killed in an accident at the Norilsk Nickel mine, one of the biggest producers of nickel and palladium in the Arctic. 

A flood that swept through an Alrosa Siberian rough diamond mine in Siberia, Russia left eight people missing.

Alrosa declared that the rescue operation would be stopped after three weeks.

Kemerovo, which was home to the Ulyanovskaya Mine explosion that claimed more than 100 lives in 2007, saw the most serious mining accident since 1991’s collapse of Soviet Union.

The Raspadskaya Siberia coal mine, Russia’s largest and most dangerous miner’s accident in Russia occurred in summer 2010. It was responsible for 91 deaths and more than 100 injuries.

When more than 300 miners were trapped, a strong methane explosion led to the accident. The second explosion trapped several rescuers.

In addition to these deadly accidents, non-governmental organizations have raised awareness about the environment of Russia’s largest producer of gold, Russia.