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Fire following deadly blast at Kazakh coal mine leaves 33 dead

Miners and relatives are showing gathering for a meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev after disaster at the Kostyenko coal mine in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, on Saturday. The death toll in the fire at the rose to 33 people, officials said. Photo by Kazakhstan Presidential Press Service/EPA-EFE
1 of 2 | Miners and relatives are showing gathering for a meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev after disaster at the Kostyenko coal mine in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, on Saturday. The death toll in the fire at the rose to 33 people, officials said. Photo by Kazakhstan Presidential Press Service/EPA-EFE

Oct. 28 (UPI) -- An explosion and subsequent fire at a coal mine in Kazakhstan on Saturday left at least 33 people dead and another 13 still unaccounted for.

Rescue work at the site of the Kostenco mine in central Kazakhstan's Karaganda region was continuing Saturday with six workers pulled alive from the debris, according to the state-run Kazinform news agency.

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The death toll was initially reported at 25 and has continued to rise.

Fire crews confirmed they have now extinguished all the flames at the mine, which is owned by Luxembourg-based multinational steel manufacturing corporation ArcelorMittal SA.

The cause of the fire and explosion has not yet been determined, government officials said Saturday.

Another 206 workers were safely evacuated from the mine at the onset of the disaster, the company said in a statement.

"No words can adequately convey the devastation the company feels following this accident. Everything that can be done to support the families who have lost loved ones through this deeply painful time will be done," ArcelorMittal said.

Several people that were on-site at the time are also dealing with varying degrees of gas poisoning.

The Kazakh government confirmed it is in the final stages of a process to acquire all of the company's assets in Kazakhstan.

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The company also confirmed it will "will transfer ownership to the Republic of Kazakhstan," without specifying financial specifics.

Kazakhstan did not disclose financial terms either but did say it was not looking to seize the company's assets.

Five people were killed as the result of an explosion at a different ArcelorMittal mine in Kazakhstan in August.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a national day of mourning for Sunday.

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