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Twenty-One Killed In Siberian Coal-Mine Explosion

9 February 2005 -- An explosion swept through a mine in the coal-rich Kuzbass region of Siberia today, killing at least 21 workers.

The blast occurred at the 20-year-old Yesaulskaya mine in Kemerovo Oblast, about 3,000 kilometers east of Moscow, as mine workers were trying to prevent a fire from spreading.

Four miners were hospitalized with injuries but their lives were out of danger.

Sergei Vlasov, a spokesman for of the Emergency Situations Ministry in Moscow, said 21 miners were confirmed dead and four were unaccounted for.

The Kemerovo government declared 11 February a day of mourning for the dead miners. Their families were each to be given $25,000-$28,000 by the regional government as compensation for their loss.