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41 die in Mittal mine fire in Kazakhstan

September 21, 2006 19:10 IST

The death toll in Wednesday's blaze at the Mittal-owend Lenin coal mine in Kazakhstan has risen to 41 with one miner still missing.

"The bodies of 41 miners have been brought to the surface, and another miner who was in the pit at the time of the incident, has not been located yet," a Kazakh official was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

He said six people had been hospitalized, including two in a serious condition, and that the rescue operation would continue till the last man in the pit was found.

A total of 374 people were working at the time of blast at a depth of 620 meters. More than 300 miners managed to escape the surface after the blast.

The explosion is believed to have caused by the so called pit gas, a mixture of methane and coal dust, in the coal mine run by Mittal Steel Temirtau in the Karaganda Region, southeast of the Kazakh capital, Astana.

Meanwhile, the trade union of Mittal Steel Temirtau's coal arm has pledged $12,000 compensation to the families of deceased miners and prosecutors said they had launched a case of negligence.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev offered his condolences to the bereaved families and ordered high level probe.

On Wednesday, in another former Soviet republic of Ukraine, 13 people died and 67 injured, some of them critically, following an explosion at a mine in Donetsk coal basin the east of the country.

Earlier on September 7, 25 miners had died in a blaze in a gold mine in Russia's Siberian region of Chita.

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