Russia | “Difficult situation” for the 13 miners stuck underground for 48 hours

(Moscow) Russian authorities reported on Wednesday a “difficult situation” for the rescue of 13 miners, stranded for 48 hours at the bottom of a gold mine in the Amur region, in the Far East. Russian East, after a landslide.

The accident occurred at midday on Monday, trapping these miners specializing in tunneling at a depth of around 125 meters. By midday on Wednesday, the approximately 220 rescuers dispatched to the site had managed to clear a third of the rubble, according to the Russian television channel Rossia 24.

“Rescue work continues for the second consecutive day (…). The situation still remains difficult,” regional governor Vassili Orlov, who visited the site, wrote on Telegram, emphasizing that there “is still no contact with the miners.”

This gold mine, called “Pioneer”, is located in a relatively remote region in the far east of the country. The work is complicated by the “permanent” arrival of groundwater in the mine, said Mr. Orlov, according to which “the water pumping operations do not stop for a single moment”.

Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry released images of rescuers rushing to the damaged mine on snow-covered ground, as temperatures touched -20 degrees Celsius overnight, according to the weather service.

These images also show impressive drilling equipment being transported to the damaged site.

A new group of around thirty rescuers arrived on Wednesday aboard an Iliuushin-76 plane from the Kuzbass, another Russian mining region, according to Mr. Orlov.

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“These are mining rescuers who specialize in exactly this type of accident and who have colossal experience,” he stressed in a press release.

Among them are rescue divers, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

Drilling work towards the suspected area where the miners are trapped began on Wednesday, according to the governor of the Amur region.

This passage “will allow a camera to be lowered to assess the situation and establish possible lines of communication” with the stranded minors, he explained.

“The main task is to save people, and then this whole situation will be subject to a thorough examination and investigation,” the Kremlin representative in the Far East said in a statement.

The Kremlin said on Tuesday it was taking “all necessary measures” to save these minors, and an investigation into violations of security rules was opened.

Accidents in mines in Russia, as elsewhere in the former USSR, remain frequent and are often linked to lax application of safety rules, poor management, corruption or obsolete equipment.


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