Blast in Siberian coalmine kills 40

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Eight miners were rescued from the pit yesterday, said Valery Korchagin, an Emergency Department spokesman in the Kemerovo region of western Siberia.

Sergei Oganesyan, the chief of the Russian Federal Energy Agency who was heading the commission investigating the explosion, said 40 miners had been killed. Twenty-five bodies had been brought to the surface.

The blast was at a depth of 560m. The shaft was filled with carbon dioxide, the Interfax news agency reported, and the rescue effort was hampered by heavy smoke.

Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Russia’s Patriarch Alexy II to pray for the miners and their families after the Easter service in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour cathedral.