Friday, January 21, 2022

Russia Jails 5 People in Coal Accident That Kills 51 | AP News

MOSCOW (AP). A Russian court ruled on Saturday that five people should remain in pretrial detention for two months pending an investigation into the devastating explosion at a coal mine in Siberia that killed dozens.

Russian authorities reported 51 deaths from a methane explosion at the Listvyazhnaya mine in the Kemerovo region in southwestern Siberia on Thursday – 46 miners and five rescuers. The tragedy turned out to be the deadliest in Russia since 2010.

The Central District Court of the city of Kemerovo ruled on the arrest of the director of the Listvyazhnaya mine, Sergei Makhrakov, his deputy, Andrei Molostvov, and the head of the site, Sergei Gerasimenko. They were charged with violating industrial safety requirements at hazardous production facilities, which resulted in the death of several people. If convicted, they can be imprisoned for up to seven years.

Two employees of the local branch of Rostekhnadzor, the Russian state oversight of technology and the environment – Sergei Vinokurov and Vyacheslav Semykin – were also jailed for two months on charges of negligence resulting in the death of two or more people, with a sentence of imprisonment up to seven years. also.

Law enforcement officials said Friday that miners had complained about high levels of methane in the mine. Russia’s leading independent news site, Meduza, reported that authorities suspended operations in certain areas of the mine nine times this year and imposed fines of more than 4 million rubles (approximately $ 53,000) for safety violations.

On Thursday morning, 285 miners were at the Listvyazhnaya mine during an explosion that quickly filled the mine with poisonous smoke. Soon after the explosion, a total of 239 people were rescued, and more than 60 sought medical help with various injuries.

On Thursday, officials said 11 miners and three rescuers had died while searching for others in a remote section of the mine. Thirty-five miners were still trapped in the mine when rescuers were forced to stop searching for several hours in the mine due to the accumulation of methane and carbon monoxide.

Three more rescuers went missing and were presumed dead by Thursday along with the trapped miners. However, on Friday morning, search teams found one rescuer in the mine, who was still alive and conscious. He suffered moderate shock and carbon monoxide poisoning and is being treated in a hospital.

Officials called his rescue a “miracle” and said it was extremely unlikely to find other survivors at the time.

The Governor of the Kemerovo Region Sergey Tsivilev on Saturday announced the resumption of the search operation, saying that “we need to raise everyone (to the surface).” However, he noted that rescue teams must proceed “with caution.”

“We have no right to lose a single person more,” Tsivilev wrote in the Telegram messenger.

Search teams later found the bodies of five miners on Saturday.

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