A fire at a coal mine in Siberia has killed 11 people and injured more than 40 others, with dozens more still trapped, authorities said.
The blaze took place in the Kemerovo region in the south-west of the Russian region.
Russia’s state Tass news agency reported, citing an unnamed emergency official, that coal dust caught fire, and that smoke quickly filled the mine through the ventilation system.
A total of 285 people were in the mine at the time of the incident. Kemerovo governor Sergei Tsivilyov said 239 of them have been evacuated and 46 others were still trapped underground.
“Forty-three people have been hospitalised with injuries, four of them in a serious condition,” he said.
Efforts to rescue those trapped in the mine were halted on Thursday afternoon because of an explosion threat, and rescuers were rushed out of the mine, administrators told the Interfax news agency.
A criminal probe into the fire has been launched.
President Vladimir Putin extended his condolences to the families of the killed miners and ordered the government to offer all necessary assistance to those who were injured.