|Photo taken in July 2004 shows the coal mine where a blast occured on Feb. 11, 2013, in the Komi Republic, Russia. A coal mine blast in Russia's northwest Komi Republic has killed nine people, the Emergency Situations Ministry said on Monday. (Xinhua)
MOSCOW, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- A coal mine blast in Russia's northwest Komi Republic has killed nine miners, the country's Interior Ministry said Monday.
Three survivors and nine victims were lifted to the surface while the fate of other trapped miners remained unclear, a press officer with the ministry told local media.
Earlier in the day, the Emergency Situations Ministry reported that a total of 18 people were trapped in the Varkutinskaya coal mine.
The methane explosion occurred at 10:28 Moscow time (0628 GMT). A total of 22 coal miners were working underground in the morning.
Four of the miners were raised up to the ground automatically during the blast, Yelena Smirnykh, deputy chief of the emergencies ministry's information department told local media.
Rescuers were still working on the site to examine the mine and clean up the debris.