Image copyright FGB Image caption The disaster site is cordoned off in Sakha Republic, Russia
A total of 51 miners have died after a methane gas explosion in a coal mine in the Sakha Republic, the Emergencies Ministry has said.
In the first fatal accident of its kind in Russia in two decades, a blast ignited by a flash fire trapped 90 workers underground in Thursday’s accident.
One miner is still unaccounted for, and two of the 11 survivors remain in hospital.
They were rescued over the weekend, after an operation that dragged on for five days.
“We mourn these deaths. This tragedy is too tragic,” Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said at a televised briefing on Monday.
All those trapped underground were released from hospital within a few days and returned to their homes, he said.
Large quantities of methane was thought to have escaped into the mine and might have been the cause of the explosion, the Emergencies Ministry said.
The mine is operated by a subsidiary of the Russian company Nordgold.
No company executives or workers have been named in connection with the tragedy.
Earlier, President Vladimir Putin said he was “shocked and angered” by the accident, and ordered state agencies to investigate what had happened and identify any responsible parties.
Rescue workers were still in the area of the explosion on Monday, the Emergencies Ministry said.
The Sakha Republic was part of the Soviet Union until the break-up in 1991, with about 5.5 million people.
In December 2017, 16 miners were killed in an explosion at a coal mine in Voronezh region, another Russian part of the Sakha Republic.
In August 1992, a methane explosion killed 167 miners in a mine in Zubakovo in Yakutia, another part of the Sakha Republic.