MOSCOW: The death toll has risen to 42 after a mining accident in Kazakhstan, while four people are still missing, the Kazakh Civil Defence said on Sunday after the devastating blast in the Karaganda area, reported German news agency (dpa).
A methane explosion struck the Kostenko mine shaft on Saturday morning while more than 250 miners were underground.
The blast wave from the explosion spread more than two kilometres down the shaft’s corridors, the head of the rescue service said.
President Kassym-Shomart Tokayev declared a nationwide day of mourning for Sunday.
He travelled to the site of the accident – the country’s deadliest mine disaster in years – on Saturday. He offered his condolences to the families of the victims.
The Kazakh authorities accused international steel company Arcelormittal of serious failures in safety precautions after the latest disaster.
Tokayev instructed his government to end the investment partnership with Arcelormittal.
Fatal incidents have occurred repeatedly in the company’s coal mines. According to official figures, more than 100 people have died at Arcelormittal properties in the past 15 years.
Kazakhstan, which is also rich in oil and gas, is an important supplier of raw materials for many countries. -Bernama-dpa