Rescue in Russia’s latest mine disaster passes five days

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The miners were trapped after a pipe burst and flooded the mine

The death toll from a Russian mine disaster has risen to more than 50, authorities say.

The rescue operation is still under way at the Vozrozhdenie mine, 280km (170 miles) east of Moscow, near the city of Novosibirsk.

The mine was shut down after a pipe burst and flooded the pit with roughly 300 million cubic metres of water.

Thirty miners were found dead and a further 50 remain trapped.

Some 77 people were also rescued, but 55 remain in hospital.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The rescue operation has lasted five days

A documentary of the disaster – which featured interviews with rescue workers – showed them struggling to pump water out of the mine on foot.

They also went down a 200m shaft to try to save the trapped miners by using a drill, but admitted they had no hope of success.

“I thought we would have made it inside by now. That’s why I didn’t rush. I did what we have always done. I thought we would be here,” one miner said in the film.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Footage of the drilling show the mud-covered miners being hauled back to the surface

The mine has a maximum annual capacity of 2.5 million cubic metres of water, according to the BBC’s Magali Delporte in Moscow.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the rescue operation will be a “monumental task” but told reporters: “There is no need to place restrictions.”

The Russian government has already declared a day of mourning for Tuesday.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Dozens of people lined the streets to welcome the trapped miners back to the surface

Meanwhile, people who gathered in the snowy streets of Novosibirsk have waited for survivors from a Russian mining disaster.

A pipe burst in a mine shaft, flooding the pit with roughly 300 million cubic metres of water

The 29 miners are believed to have been about 700m below the surface at the time. More than 80 of them have been rescued so far.

But another 42 are trapped and may have drowned, while another 33 are still missing and could be dead.

Vladimir Sevronin, a 51-year-old miner, told the BBC that he had been trying to help the trapped miners and that he knew of more who had died.

“We have 20 of our co-workers inside the mine. At the moment, five of them are recovering, and the others are working.”

The disaster occurred at the Vozrozhdenie mine, 280km (170 miles) east of Moscow, near the city of Novosibirsk

Mining has always been a dangerous occupation in Russia.

Although the world’s most recent high-profile mining disaster involved the 2010 explosion of the coal mine in Sago, West Virginia which killed 29 people, more than 1,000 miners have died in accidents since 2000.

Image copyright EPA Image caption A rescue vessel is searching the waters

Video caption Rescue personnel enter a mine shaft

A BBC analysis of the victims revealed that at least 98% of those killed have been men, with less than one in 100 being women.

The deadliest Russian mining disaster happened in 1999 when hundreds of men were crushed to death after their mine collapsed in the Olimpian region.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the tragedy on Thursday, the men’s families paid tribute with ceremonies in the town.

The rescue operation is thought to be the longest in Soviet/Russian history

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