posted on Mar, 19 2007 @ 11:14 AM
The death toll from a methane gas blast at a coal mine in Siberia rose to 61 Monday, according to unconfirmed reports from Russian news agencies.
Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Emergency situations put the toll at 28 dead and 76 missing. The Associated Press quoted Russian media putting the
toll much highter
The accident occurred at the Ulyanovskaya mine in Kemerovo region about 11:16 a.m. Moscow time (4:16 a.m. ET).
At the time of the explosion, 186 miners were inside the mine; 82 have been rescued.
A special investigative team is on its way to the site of the disaster, the ministry said.
The mine, which opened in 2002, is in a major Russian industrial region, with some of the world's largest deposits of coal. It produces 3 million
metric tons of coal a year, The Associated Press quoted the RIA-Novosti news agency as saying.
Russia has a history of accidents in its coal industry.
In 2004, 47 workers were killed in a blast at a mine on the outskirts of Novokuznetsk. In 1997, a methane explosion at a mine in Novokuznetsk killed