Hundreds of east Ukraine miners evacuate damaged pit

Agence France-Presse
Hundreds of east Ukraine miners evacuate damaged pit
A pit in rebel-controlled Donetsk city's Zasyadko coal mine lost power Sunday afternoon

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. –

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