The bodies of five coal miners who were killed when an explosion ripped through a mine in the Siberian region of Kemerovo on November 25 have been recovered and brought to the surface, local officials reported.
The regional government's office posted on November 28 that one team of rescue workers was still in the mine, pumping out water and stabilizing carbon monoxide levels.
The bodies were reportedly found at a depth of 365 meters and rescuers had to travel 4.6 kilometers to reach them. Thirty-two bodies are yet to be recovered.
In all, 51 people, including five rescue workers, were killed in the disaster. Sixty people were injured and hospitalized, while a total of 239 miners were successfully evacuated.
On November 27, a group of miners from the mine told journalists that they were regularly given meters for measuring methane levels in the mine that had been tampered with to give lower readings. Nonetheless, the miners said, the equipment recorded excessive methane levels both in August and earlier this month. The miners provided photographs and videos showing the purported violations.
The miners also alleged that, for the first 90 minutes following the explosion, no ambulances or rescue workers arrived at the scene and only other miners began helping those still below ground.
Two criminal cases into allegations of safety violations and criminal neglect have been opened and five people -- the mine director, his deputy, the immediate site supervisor, and two state safety inspectors -- have been arrested and charged.
The Listvyazhnaya coal mine, opened in 2003, is part of SDS-Ugol, one of Russia's largest mining companies. It is Russia's third-largest coal extractor and exporter.
According to Andrei Vil, a representative of the state Rostekhnadzor monitoring agency, the mine was inspected 127 times in 2021, as a result of which 914 violations were documented and work was stopped nine times. The most recent inspection, according to Rostekhnadzor reports, took place the day before the explosion.
Prosecutors have alleged that two Rostekhnadzor inspectors filled out reports without actually carrying out the checks.