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There Was No Chance of Survivors—but They Found One

A rescuer managed to survive the methane explosion in Siberian mine
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 26, 2021 8:26 AM CST
There Was No Chance of Survivors—but They Found One
Ambulances and fire trucks are parked near the Listvyazhnaya coal mine out of the Siberian city of Kemerovo, about 3,000 kilometres (1,900 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. A fire at a coal mine in Russia's Siberia killed 11 people and injured more than 40 others on Thursday, with...   (Governor of Kemerovo region press office photo via AP)

(Newser) – Emergency officials on Thursday said there was no chance of finding any more survivors in the Listvyazhnaya mine, where 52 miners and rescuers were presumed dead in a devastating methane explosion. But on Friday, a miracle: Rescue crews have found a survivor in the Siberian coal mine, a senior regional official said. Kemerovo region Governor Sergei Tsivilyov said on the messaging app Telegram that the survivor "is being taken to the hospital." Acting Emergency Minister Alexander Chupriyan identified the survivor as rescuer Alexander Zakovryashin, who had been presumed dead, per the AP. "I can consider it a miracle," Chupriyan said.

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Zakovryashin was conscious when rescuers reached him and has been hospitalized with moderate carbon monoxide poisoning, according to emergency officials. Authorities on Thursday confirmed 14 fatalities—11 miners and three rescuers who perished while searching for others trapped in a remote section of the mine. Six more bodies were recovered on Friday morning, while 31 people remain missing. Authorities now put the presumed death toll at 51. A total of 239 people were rescued, and Gov. Tsivilyov said finding other survivors at this point is highly unlikely.

It appears to be the deadliest mine accident in Russia since 2010, when two methane explosions and a fire killed 91 people at a mine in the same Kemerovo region. Russia's top independent news site, Meduza, reported that this year authorities suspended the work of certain sections of the Listvyazhnaya mine nine times and fined the mine more than $50,000 for safety violations. Law enforcement officials also said Friday that miners had complained about the high level of methane in the mine. Regional officials have declared three days of mourning while Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal probe into potential safety violations.

(Read more Russia stories.)

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