Tamil Diplomat

Dozens feared dead after Donetsk mine explosion

Dozens of miners are trapped underground and feared dead after a blast at a coal mine in the eastern Ukrainian rebel stronghold of Donetsk, with rescuers saying the chance of finding many survivors was slim.

Mine officials said the explosion on Wednesday was not linked to fighting at the nearby frontline in the war between Moscow-backed rebels and Ukrainian government forces. Kiev accused the separatists of holding up the rescue effort by restricting access.Outside the gates of the Zasyadko mine, about 30 relatives clamoured for information about survivors. A miner injured in the blast mingled with the crowd, his face covered in scratches and one arm hanging motionless by his side, the result of a broken collarbone.

The miner, Sergei Baldayev, said five bodies had been retrieved so far after the blast in a shaft deep underground.The sister of one miner who was in the pit at the time of the explosion, Alexei Novoselsky, was in tears. “Tell me, are there survivors? Why are you concealing the truth,” she said as a local rescuer tried to calm her.