On the Severnaya mine in Vorkuta (the Republic of Komi in northern Russia), mine rescue workers have already cut their way through nine metres of collapsed rock behind which are trapped eight miners, a desk official of the emergencies department for Komi told the agency by telephone.
Rock caved in at a depth of 565 metres last night. Following the accident 147 miners were lifted to the surface. One of them is hospitalised with medium-gravity injuries and a suspected craniocerebral trauma.
According to the official, "rescue work is carried out practically by hand, because the required equipment is not yet brought in".
Rescue workers are simultaneously trying to reach out to the trapped men along three directions. The ministry could not tell the exact distance of the fall separating them from the miners behind it.
The department reported that there is still no contact with the miners. "The most important thing is that there has been no explosion and no fire, and this raises hopes that the men are alive," the source told the agency.
The circumstances of the accident are being looked into, and a crisis management centre has been set up.