18 dead, 20 missing in Ukraine mine tragedies

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Eighteen miners died and another 20 were missing Friday in two separate accidents at coal mines in the east of Ukraine, an industrial region notorious for its mining safety record. At least 16 miners were killed instantly as a result of an explosion at the Sukhodolskaya-Vostochnaya coal mine in the eastern Lugansk region early Friday, the emergencies ministry said.
Another three workers received burns and other injuries and were hospitalised, it said. One of the injured died later of his wounds. “The fate of nine miners remains unknown,” said the Kiev-based emergencies ministry in a statement, adding that a total of 28 people were working at the pit when the explosion occurred at 1:57 am Friday. The Lugansk regional administration, citing preliminary information, said the accident was caused by a methane explosion, which has caused most of the country’s past mining disasters.
In a separate accident in Makiyivka mine in the neighbouring Donetsk region, one person was killed, three hospitalised and 11 were missing, the emergencies ministry said. The ministry said the 70 metre-high (230 feet) mine headframe, which is used to lower miners down into the mine and bring them up again, collapsed.