Russian coal mine blast kills 2

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Two coal miners were killed in a methane gas blast at a Siberian pit on Wednesday, Russian officials said.

The victims were among 105 miners who had been underground at the Dzerzhinsky mine in the Kemerovo region city of Prokopyevsk at the time of the blast, the regional administration said. The rest made it safely to the surface.

The privately owned mine is in a coal-rich section of central Siberia known as the Kuzbass.

Fatal accidents are frequent in Russia's ageing pits despite improvements in safety since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Most accidents have been attributed to methane gas blasts, negligence or a failure to follow safety regulations.

A methane blast at a coal mine in northern Russia last February killed 18 miners.

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