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Hopes Fade For Missing Ukrainian Miners

21 July 2004 -- Flags are flying at half-mast today in Ukraine as rescue workers continue efforts to find five miners missing after an explosion killed 31 people in one of the country's deadliest accidents in recent years.

Only 12 of the 48 miners underground at the time of the blast in the Krasnolimanskaya mine in the eastern Donetsk region escaped uninjured.

The prosecutor's office said it has opened an investigation into possible safety violations, which carry prison terms of up to eight years.

Today is the first of two days of national mourning for victims of the blast, which was Ukraine's deadliest mining incident since July 2002, when 33 miners died in a fire.