At least 33 killed in Ukraine mine blast

Other News Materials 18 November 2007 15:28 (UTC +04:00)

( AP ) - A methane blast ripped through a coal mine in eastern Ukraine early Sunday, killing at least 33 miners and leaving about 70 others trapped, emergency officials said.

The explosion occurred at the Zasyadka mine in the Donetsk region at a depth of more than 3,280 feet at around 3 a.m., the Emergency Situations Ministry said. Oleksandr Soldatov, a spokesman for the ministry's regional branch, said that 33 bodies had been found.

The ministry's chief spokesman, Ihor Krol, said another 70 miners have remained missing throughout the sprawling mine. Rescue workers were trying to bring them to the surface.

Authorities evacuated 359 miners, and 19 were hospitalized, Krol said.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was heading to the site, Krol said.

The Donetsk region is about 400 miles southeast of the capital, Kiev.

Ukrainian mines are among the world's most dangerous. The mines can run deep and often use out-of-date equipment.