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A desperate rescue bid is underway to save the lives of 13 miners trapped 500ft underground at one of Russia‘s largest gold mines following a giant rock fall.

A state of emergency was declared in Amur region after the collapse at the Pioneer mine.

Some 25 mountain rescuers of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s Neryungri paramilitary mountain rescue platoon were sent to the mine in Zeya district.

They are seeking to reach the miners, of which there could be up to 15 according to the regional prosecutor’s office, through a ventilation shaft. 

An Mi-8 helicopter is also stationed near the mine in case of an emergency, the ministry said. 

Race to save 13 miners trapped 500ft underground at one of Russia’s largest gold mines after giant rock fall – as rescuers describe hearing desperate banging on ventilation pipe

A recue mission is underway in Russia to save the lives of 13 miners who are trapped in a collapsed gold mine following a rock fall

Rescuers have dug down to 300ft, but the miners may be trapped lower as deep as 500 ft below ground

Rescuers have dug down to 300ft, but the miners may be trapped lower as deep as 500 ft below ground

Some 25 mountain rescuers of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry's Neryungri paramilitary mountain rescue platoon were sent to the mine in Zeya district

Some 25 mountain rescuers of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s Neryungri paramilitary mountain rescue platoon were sent to the mine in Zeya district

9,000 cubic metres of rubble collapsed - enough to fill more than three Olympic sized swimming pools

9,000 cubic metres of rubble collapsed – enough to fill more than three Olympic sized swimming pools

‘There’s little information so far,’ said Igor Namakonov, head of the Centre for Civil Defence and Emergency Situations in the fart-flung district.

The trapped miners – or some of them – are alive and knocking by banging on a ventilation pipe to communicate with rescuers.

A distraught relative said: ‘They knock on the pipe, using it to say they are alive.

‘We are praying to God they are not flooded there and that they have enough oxygen.’

Rescuers have dug down to 300ft, but the miners may be trapped lower as deep as 500ft below ground.

Footage showed rescue efforts underway at the mine, located in the Eastern Siberia Amur region that borders China to the South.

The ‘roof of the gold mine collapsed’ is blocking any exit for the workers who are up to 500ft underground, according to reports.

Some 9,000 cubic metres of rubble collapsed – enough to fill more than three Olympic sized swimming pools.

Rescuers faced removing a wall of fallen rock some 65ft high and 197ft length.

‘Communications are being restored and mechanised clearing of the transport slope is being carried out,’ said the ministry.

Rescue teams faced removing a wall of fallen rock some 20 metres high and 60 metres in length

Rescue teams faced removing a wall of fallen rock some 20 metres high and 60 metres in length

The trapped miners – or some of them – are alive and knocking by banging on a ventilation pipe to communicate with rescuers 

The Pioneer mine is one of the largest gold mines in Russia based on capacity, Russian media reported

The Pioneer mine is one of the largest gold mines in Russia based on capacity, Russian media reported

Russian state investigators have opened a criminal case into the violation of safety rules at the mine, but officials did not immediately say what caused the accident.

Investigators seized documentation from the mine managers and are interrogating witnesses to the rock collapse, said reports.

All of the miners are reportedly from other Russian regions. 

The incident could be a blow to Vladimir Putin’s government amid an increased reliance on gold during the war against Ukraine.



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