Nov. 25 (UPI) — Russian authorities have confirmed that at least 14 people — including three rescuers — have died during a fire and explosion in a coal mine accident Thursday.
Three people who went missing from the rescue team at the Listvyazhnaya coalmine were found dead, authorities said.
The death could rise further as there are still more than 30 people trapped underground, the Russian news agency TASS reported.
Forty-three miners have been hospitalized with four of them listed in serious condition.
Reports of fire and an explosion in the mine’s airway reached Russia’s Federal Service for Environmental Technological and Nuclear Supervision at around 9 a.m. local time.
The fire broke out at a depth of 820 feet and was caused by coal dust that caught fire in the airway. More than 40 people were poisoned by combustion products. Rescue operations are halted due to the threat of methane explosion.
At least 285 miners were inside when the fire erupted, authorities said.