Eight miss­ing at flooded Rus­sian di­a­mond mine

Muscat Daily - - WORLD - AFP

Moscow, Rus­sia - Res­cuers on Satur­day helped an in­jured worker out of a flooded Rus­sian di­a­mond mine but the search con­tin­ued for eight other still miss­ing in the dis­as­ter, mine own­ers Al­rosa said.

Alisher Mirza­yev (36) was in in­ten­sive care in a se­ri­ous but sta­ble con­di­tion in hos­pi­tal suf­fer­ing from hy­pother­mia, but his life was not in dan­ger, said a state­ment from the com­pany.

Res­cue ef­forts were con­tin­u­ing for eight other min­ers re­ported miss­ing since Fri­day's flood­ing at the Mir mine in Rus­sia's vast Sakha re­gion some 4,160km east of Moscow.

The wa­ters broke through into one of the mine’s pump­ing sta­tions out of a flooded dis­used crater that con­tained some 300,000 cu­bic me­tres of wa­ter, the Emer­gency Sit­u­a­tions Min­istry said - the equiv­a­lent of 120 Olympic-size swim­ming pools.

The ac­ci­dent hap­pened at around 4.30pm on Fri­day.

It is be­lieved to have been caused by an ‘un­con­trolled in­crease in the flow of wa­ter’ out of the mine’s aban­doned crater into the un­der­ground shaft, Al­rosa said. This was caused by sud­den ge­o­log­i­cal pro­cesses and the wash­ing away of rocks in the crater, it added, but in­sisted that all of the mine’s ‘equip­ment has been reg­u­larly tested’.

The Sakha re­gion’s branch of the In­ves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee, which probes se­ri­ous crimes, said in a state­ment on Fri­day that it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing pos­si­ble safety vi­o­la­tions at the mine.

Rus­sian tele­vi­sion said the res­cue op­er­a­tion at the mine named Mir, or peace in Rus­sian, had been ham­pered by a power cut that stopped the lift sys­tem from work­ing.

Tele­vi­sion chan­nels showed footage posted on so­cial me­dia of wa­ter flood­ing into a con­trol room from the ceil­ing of un­der­ground pas­sage­ways.

Al­rosa, which is Rus­sia’s largest di­a­mond pro­ducer, said on Fri­day that 133 peo­ple had been evac­u­ated from the mine. Two were taken to hos­pi­tal with mi­nor in­juries, the re­gion’s health min­istry said.

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, who vis­ited Siberia on Fri­day morn­ing, has been briefed about the ac­ci­dent, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS state news agency.

Al­rosa’s pres­i­dent Sergei Ivanov flew to the scene on Fri­day as did the leader of the Sakha re­gion, Ye­gor Borisov, who brought ad­di­tional backup in­clud­ing sur­geons and doc­tors spe­cial­is­ing in emer­gency medicine.

Emer­gency Sit­u­a­tions Min­is­ter Vladimir Puchkov also trav­elled to the scene.

Al­rosa’s pres­i­dent is the 36 year old son of Putin’s former chief of staff, also called Sergei Ivanov. He has headed Al­rosa since March this year. Al­rosa, based in the Sakha re­gion, made a net profit of US$376.37mn in the first quar­ter of 2017.

Rus­sian tele­vi­sion said the res­cue op­er­a­tion at the mine named Mir, or peace in Rus­sian, had been ham­pered by a power cut that stopped the lift sys­tem from work­ing

(AFP)

Res­cuers at the flooded Mir di­a­mond mine in the Sakha re­gion, some 4,160km east of Moscow, on Fri­day

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