MOSCOW – Thirteen coal miners died after an explosion ripped through a coal mine early Thursday in western Siberia (search), officials said.
The blast in the Listvyazhnaya mine in the town of Belov, in the Kemerovo region (search) 3,000 kilometers (1,850 miles) east of Moscow, was apparently caused by a methane buildup, according to Lyudmila Krylova, a spokeswoman for the local branch of Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry.
At the time of the explosion, 103 miners were working under the surface, Krylova told The Associated Press. Rescuers evacuated 90 miners and recovered 13 bodies, Krylova said.
Rescuers had to suspend the salvage effort at one point due to a high concentration of methane, but resumed work when it subsided, she said.
Four miners were hospitalized; 19 others received first aid and were sent home.