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Nine miners feared trapped after Russian pit blast

Published on Feb 11, 2013 4:09 PM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Nine coalminers were feared trapped under rubble on Monday after an explosion at a pit in the Komi region of northern Russia, the Emergencies Ministry said.

The ministry said the blast at 10:28 a.m. local time (2.28 p.m Singapore time) was probably caused by a buildup of methane. It initially said 18 people had been trapped but later issued a statement saying several had escaped or been rescued.

The mine belongs to a division of Severstal, one of Russia's largest steel producers.

"Our rescue team has only just gone out to the mine," said Yevgeny Sukharev, a spokesman for Vorkutaugol, a coal supplier for Severstal.

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