Ukraine Mine Blast Toll Hits 63

37 men missing in methane gas explosion
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Nov 18, 2007 2:18 PM CST
A Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry rescuer passes relatives and friends gathered at the Zasyadka mine.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – At least 63 miners were killed early today when a methane gas explosion ripped through a coal mine in eastern Ukraine. Another 37 miners were missing and rescuers have been unable to establish communication with any survivors. More than 360 men were safely evacuated from the half-mile deep mine, AP reports.

One miner couldn't see through the dust, "So I was moving by touch over dead bodies," he said. Anguished friends and relatives clustered near the mine entrance for news of loved ones, and the country's PM visited, promising reform. Ukrainian mines are among the world's most dangerous: They're particularly deep, utilize antiquated equipment, and have low safety standards.