An image shows the Listvyazhnaya coal mine, near the town of Gramoteino in the Kemerovo region of Russia on Nov. 25, after a coal mine explosion Thursday. Photo by Press Service of Administration of the Government of Kuzbass/EPA-EFE
Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A rescuer at Russia's collapsed Listvyazhnaya coal mine who went missing was found alive Friday, an official said.
The rescuer was found as operations continued at the coal mine after 51 died in the mine explosion in the Belovsky District of Kuzbass on Thursday morning. Officials believe the explosion may have been caused by methane gas.
"Our rescuer, Alexander Zakovryashin, was found alive. I see this as a miracle. That is, this miracle was performed by our people," Emergencies Minister Alexander Chupriyan told TASS.
Chupriyan said mine rescuers would continue to work in the coal mine, conducting reconnaissance, taking samples and investigating the damage to the coal mine. They found Zakovryashin during similar work Friday.
Anatoly Seryshev, the acting head of the EMERCOM of Russia, and the regional governor Sergey Tsivilev met with relatives of the miners who died.
Chupriyan said it was necessary to determine the dynamics inside the mine, including taking air samples to determine whether there is a continued threat of an explosion or not.
The victims of the coal mine explosion suffocated from carbon monoxide, the official said.
The regional prosecutor has begun an inquiry on whether labor and industrial safety laws were followed while a government investigative arm has launched a criminal case, the agency reported.
Forty-three miners have been hospitalized with four of them listed in serious condition. Reports of fire and an explosion in the mine's airway reached Russia's Federal Service for Environmental Technological and Nuclear Supervision at around 9 a.m. local time.