Rescuers find 43 trapped in Russia coal mine

By Lauren Coleman-Lochner, CNN • Updated 10th April 2011

Rescue workers freed 43 workers Friday from a flooded coal mine in southern Russia, bringing the death toll from one of the world’s worst mining disasters to more than 50.

“The search is continuing and cooperation from residents and emergency services is extremely good,” emergency worker Dmitry Willanchenko told CNN.

The Novolipetsk coal mine in Nizhny Novgorod province near Moscow began leaking methane gas Monday morning after a temporary shutdown, just as dozens of workers were reentering the mine to start their shifts, according to the emergency ministry.

The explosion and then flooding trapped more than 300 miners in the mine, which is about 110 miles (180 kilometers) northeast of Moscow.

Thirty miners were rescued alive Monday but many others were trapped deep underground. Some of those were found severely injured, according to state-owned agency RIA Novosti.

Those rescued on Friday will be brought to a nearby hospital for treatment and later sent home with their families, RIA Novosti reported.

Although the Russians are increasingly cautious about safety in the face of many deadly industrial accidents, this was the worst since mining fatalities were revived in the 1990s.

Not all mine accidents are fatal, however. Russia is one of the top exporters of coal in the world.

In 2007, a factory explosion killed 13 people. Last year, a factory explosion in the small city of Kamenovo killed 41 people.

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