Gas Leak Kills More Than 50 In Russian Mining Accident

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Jorge Velasco Contributor
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More than 50 people were killed and dozens were injured after a gas leak exploded in a Siberian province in Russia Thursday afternoon.

Miners suffocated when a ventilation shaft filled up with gas, leading prosecutors to believe it caused a methane explosion, according to Reuters. Thirty-five miners were reported missing and 11 miners were confirmed dead as well as 6 rescue workers.

The regional Investigative Committee said the director of the Siberian mine and his deputy were arrested after suspecting violations of industrial safety rules, Reuters reported. Multiple workers were taken to the hospital, some of whom suffered smoke inhalation. Four remain in critical condition. (RELATED: Nearly A Dozen Miners Remain Trapped After Two Bodies Were Recovered In Nicaragua Gold Mine Collapse)

Nearly 285 people were inside the mine when smoke entered the ventilation shaft with approximately 239 making it to the surface, the Emergencies Ministry said.

The coal mine located in Kemerovo has faced fatal mining accidents for years, according to Reuters. The region saw the worst mining accident since the end of the Soviet Union in 2007 after an explosion killed more than 100 people at the Ulyanovskaya coal mine, according to Reuters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had spoken to the governor of the province and noted the Kremlin ordered the emergencies minister to fly to the region for assistance, Reuters reported.