Aman Tuleyev, governor of Kemerovo, said: "Practically the whole of the management of the company died in the accident."
|Authorities said victims' families would |
be compensated [Reuters]
He said 20 members of the mine's management team were killed in the explosion and ensuing fire, including the facility's chief engineer and chief mechanic. Tuleyev said the mine's director was spared as he was on holiday.
British mining consultancy IMC confirmed that one of its employees, Ian Robertson, was in the mine at the time of the blast but could not comment on what had happened to him.
Fradkov called for tougher safety rules at coal mines. The Kommersant daily said it was Russia's worst mining accident since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Russian miners say safety rules are frequently broken in coal mines, some of which date from Josef Stalin's mass industrialisation drive in the late 1920s or even earlier.
On December 2, 1997, 67 miners were killed by a methane gas explosion, in a mine in the same region. Five weeks after that incident, 27 miners died in an explosion in Vorkuta in northern Russia.
Local authorities said each victim's family would receive compensation of about $37,000.