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Ukraine: 33 Miners Missing In Blaze

Kyiv, 7 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Ukraine's Emergencies Ministry says 33 miners remain unaccounted for after a fire broke out in a coal mine in the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine. The ministry said 29 fire-fighting teams were battling the blaze. ITAR-TASS news agency says the fire broke out at a depth of 570 meters. It said a total of 114 miners were working when the fire began.

Some 81 miners were brought to the surface by this morning. The fate of the remaining 33 miners was unknown.

A fire that broke out in another mine in the Dnepropetrovsk region was extinguished early today. There were no injuries reported.

Ukraine's largely unprofitable mines have one of the highest accident rates in the world due to poor maintenance and neglect of safety regulations. More than 3,700 miners have died in work-related accidents since Ukraine's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.