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13 Jan, 2008 10:03

Missing Kazakh miners declared dead

The miners still missing after a blast at a mine in Kazakhstan on Friday have been declared dead. Thirty people are believed to have perished in the accident. Three days of mourning have been declared in Kazakhstan’s Karaganda region.

The local Emergencies Ministry said there was no hope of finding survivors because of high temperatures and a build-up of carbon monoxide.

Earlier, the deputy prime minister of the Central Asian republic said the chances of finding them alive were slim.

Authorities say the area where the explosion took place is being filled with water.

The gas explosion ripped through the Abay mine on Friday morning when about 200 people were working underground. 161 miners were rescued.

A fire broke out straight after the blast and thick smoke and high temperatures are hampering rescue efforts.

Nearly 200 people were evacuated after the explosion. Fourteen were hospitalized. Some remain in a critical condition.

Kazakhstan's government had asked Russia to help with the aftermath of the blast and to provide experienced rescuers.

A criminal case has already been launched.

In 2006, an explosion ripped through another mine in the same area, killing more than 40 people.

Ukraine fire

In Ukraine, more than 700 miners in Donbass have been evacuated after a fire broke out at a mine plant. The blaze was soon put out.

It's reported the incident took place on the surface of the mine, not underground.

Rescuers say all of the miners have been safely brought to the surface.

An investigation's is under way into the cause of the fire.