Ukraine mine coal burst kills 4, 7 missing

May 23, 2008 4:18:18 AM PDT
Ukrainian officials say four coal miners are dead and seven missing after an explosion at a mine in in the Donetsk region. Maryna Nikitina, a spokeswoman for the industrial safety watchdog agency, said Friday that the explosion of methane gas and coal took place overnight about 2,800 feet underground.

There were about 400 miners were underground at the time and 14 were in the immediate area of the blast. Three miners walked out and are hospitalized.

Ukraine has some of the world's most dangerous mines, due to outdated equipment and poor safety standards. Since the 1991 Soviet collapse, nearly 4,300 miners have been killed in accidents.

Officials say that for every 1 million tons of coal brought to the surface in Ukraine, three miners lose their lives.

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