DONETSK, Ukraine (UPDATED) – Ukrainian emergency rescue workers on Sunday, January 11, began pulling up hundreds of miners trapped in a pit that lost power when a shell hit a regional electric substation.
The accident occurred in rebel-controlled Donetsk city’s Zasyadko coal mine – one of eastern Europe’s largest and currently operating in the middle of a war zone.
A spokesman for the local coal miners’ union told Agence France-Presse that 331 miners had been working in the shaft when it lost power on Sunday afternoon.
“The power went back up at 3:31 pm Sunday and they started pulling up the miners in groups,” Independent Ukrainian Miners Union chairman Mykhailo Volynets told Agence France-Presse.
“They have pulled out more than 150 people so far,” he said by telephone.
Zasyadko employs 10,000 people when fully operational and has been beset by problems in the past.
A 2007 disaster at the site claimed the lives of more than 100 people and remains post-Soviet Ukraine’s worst industrial accident.
The pro-rebel Donetsk News Agency earlier said on its website that 390 miners had been working in the pit when the accident occurred.
The nine-month east Ukrainian war between pro-Russian militants and government forces has claimed more than 4,700 lives. – Rappler.com