Heavy smoke hindering rescue efforts to save trapped miners.
MOSCOW (AA) – The death toll climbed to 52 on Thursday from a coal mine accident in the Russian city of Kemerovo, according to authorities.
The dead includes those from rescue teams, said the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM).
So far, 239 people have been evacuated from the mine after the ignition of coal dust caused heavy smoke at a depth of 250 meters (820 feet), while 45 people who were injured were hospitalized.
According to the Kemerovo Oblast governor’s office, 285 miners were in a shaft when the incident occurred.
Kemerovo Oblast is one of Russia’s most important industrial regions in southwestern Siberia, with some of the world’s largest coal deposits.
Heavy smoke is hindering rescue efforts to save miners who are still trapped in the shaft.
The Kemerovo Oblast prosecutor’s office has started an investigation into the accident.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to relatives of those killed and hoped for the early evacuation of those still underground.