At least 14 people died in a fire at a coal mine in Russia’s Siberia on Thursday that also left 35 others missing and feared dead.
Authorities said 11 miners were found dead and three rescuers also died later while searching for others who were trapped at a remote section of the mine. Regional officials declared three days of mourning for the victims.
Kemerovo governor Sergei Tsivilyov said 35 miners remained missing, and their exact location was unknown.
Efforts to rescue those trapped in the mine about 250m underground were halted on Thursday afternoon because of an explosion threat, and rescuers were rushed out of the mine.
The Interfax news agency reported that miners have oxygen supplies normally lasting for six hours that could be stretched for a few more hours but would have expired by late hours on Thursday anyway.
Nearly 50 other miners were injured. A total of 285 people were in the Listvyazhnaya mine in the Kemerovo region in southwestern Siberia when the fire erupted and smoke quickly filled the mine through the ventilation system. Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal probe into the fire on charges of violating safety regulations that led to deaths.