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More Arrests Made Over Deadly November Blast At Siberian Coal Mine

The director of the Listvyazhnaya coal mine, Sergei Makhrakov, seen inside a defendant's cage in a courtroom in Kemerovo on November 27, is accused of violating industrial safety rules that led to the deaths of the miners.

Russian authorities say they have detained the main owner of a Siberian coal mine where an explosion killed dozens of people in November, along with three top managers.

In all, 51 people, including five rescue workers, were killed after an explosion ripped through the Listvyazhnaya mine in the Siberian region of Kemerovo on November 25.

The mine, opened in 2003, is part of SDS-Ugol, one of Russia's largest mining companies.

'We Had It Coming With Methane': How 51 People Died In A Siberian Coal-Mine Tragedy
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The Russian Investigative Committee detained SDS-Ugol Chairman Mikhail Fedyaev, the company’s director-general, Gennady Alekseyev, its technical director Anton Yakutov, and the chief engineer of the coal mine, Anatoly Lobanov, the committee said in a statement on December 15.

They were charged with abuse of authority or violation of safety rules resulting in deaths, it said, adding that investigators will request pretrial custody for all of them.

Earlier this month, Fedyaev and Alekseyev told a televised meeting with President Vladimir Putin that they were ready to bear responsibility for the tragedy.

The mine director, Sergei Makhrakov, his deputy, the immediate site supervisor, and two state safety inspectors were previously arrested.

The Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee in Moscow is in charge of the probe.

According to 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 took place the day before the explosion.