Bodies of 33 workers recovered after mine explosion



A relative of a miner mourns at the Zasyadko coal mine in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, following an explosion that killed 32 workers. (Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Zuma Press/TNS)

Emily Ruthven , Around Creek Editor

It was a regular March day in a Zasyadko Ukraine mine when an explosion killed a miner, but mysteriously left 32 workers missing.

“I have updated information that the fate of 32 miners remains unknown. They are being searched for. The death of one person has been confirmed,” speaker of Parliament, Volodymyr Groysman said.

It is known that before the time of the explosion, a total of 23 working miners were in the mining shaft and now 200 of those people have been accounted for.

According to Groysman, there is a rescue teams searching for the rest of the 32 miners.

Later, a spokesman from the Ministry of Emergency Situations in the Donetsk People’s Republic updated the information by informing local reporters that one person had been found dead and fourteen miners has been discovered injured.

According to Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at a Cabinet meeting, pro-Russian separatists are preventing rescue teams from searching the site of the explosion for the missing miners. Yatsenyuk has urged the separatists to give the rescue teams access to the site of the explosion.

“You took millions of Ukrainians in Donetsk and Luhansk hostage and are now brutalizing miners’ families by not letting in help,” Yatsenyuk to the separatists said. The president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, also requested that the search teams be allowed into the mine.

Although the Russian rebels will not allow passage into the explosion site, they did tell reporters that 23 miners had been confirmed dead. However, about a day later, the Ukraine-controlled Donetsk regional administration corrected this information by saying that 33 people had been declared dead and there had been a total of nine bodies already discovered.

Moments after the first report of the explosion, family members, friends and loved ones rushed to the scene to confirm that their relatives were safe and had survived the blast. Alexei Novoselsky, a sister of one of the miners, was one of the nervous relatives, waiting at the entrance of the mine, in tears.

“Tell me, are there survivors? Why are you concealing the truth?”Novoselsky asked a passing rescue team member.

This was the most recent mining disaster out of many. On November 18, 2007, a methane explosion happened in the same Zasyadko Mine in Donetsk. The explosion reportedly killed 101 miners. Another methane explosion occurred at the Barajiva Mine in the Luhansk region of Ukraine on March 11, 2000. It was reported to have killed 80 people.

“If they didn’t get them out straight away, then later they will only retrieve bodies. An explosion is a terrible thing. I’ve been down in the pit for 23 years, and this is the fourth explosion that I can recall,” a welder at the mine named Oleg said.

In the region of coalmines in the area of Donbas, the Zasyadko mine is of the newest, beginning operations in 1958. It is now said to be owned be partially owned by Yukhym Zvyakisky, who is a local leader who once an acting prime minister of Ukraine.

The mine is reportedly one of the most dangerous, so it makes sense that an explosion occurred. It is extremely deep and is said to have dangerously high levels of toxic methane. Despite the danger aspect of the mine, it is one of the biggest coal producing mines in Ukraine.

Unfortunately, due to Ukraine’s current war in the east, it has been difficult for the country to carry out it’s rescue procedures as it normally would. This is due to the loss of materials and overall infrastructure instability.