27 Apr 2019 17:21

Luhansk People's Republic to mourn mine blast victims on April 29

LUHANSK. April 27 (Interfax) -The leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), Leonid Pasechnik, has declared April 29 the day of mourning for the people killed in an accident at the Skhidcarbon mine near Luhansk.

"In mourning the citizens of the Luhansk people's republic who were killed as a result of the accident, which occurred at OOO Skhidcarbon [limited liability company ] on April 25, sympathizing with their families and friends and all those injured... I hereby decree that April 29, 2019, be declared a day of mourning in the Luhansk People's Republic," the decree said.

Flags will be flying at half-mast. Cultural, television and radio companies were recommended to cancel entertainment programs and events.

The methane explosion, which caused the mine roof to collapse, occurred at the Skhidcarbon mine in the village of Yurievka near Luhansk in the LPR on the morning of April 25. The accident occurred at a depth of about 300 meters. As a result, 17 people were killed. At the request of LPR authorities, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry dispatched rescuers to the scene to help with the search and rescue effort. By this morning all dead bodies have been lifted to surface.

Pasechnik promised compensations for the families of the dead. "The families of the dead and injured Skhidcarbon miners will receive compensations, full necessary assistance and support from services and agencies without an exception," Pasechnik tweeted on Saturday.

The Skhidcarbon coal mine is located in Yurievka, a small town in Lutugino District. After fighting began in Donbas in the second half of 2014 the coal mine suspended operations. Since January 2018 the mine has been operational again. It ships coal to PJSC Alchevsk Iron & Steel Works and metallurgical enterprises in the Makiivka and Yenakiieve in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

Pavlo Lysianskyi, the Ukrainian ombudsman's representative to the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, said that the mine accident was caused by a breach of safety regulations, and that there were three, not one, explosions: "There was the first powerful explosion, and then another two, local ones."

"My information, there is data on 90%, that methane levels were exceeded, i.e. the system of safe handling of equipment was violated and no work was carried out to prevent accumulations of methane in the passages where people are working," Lysiansky told the television channel 112.Ukraine on Saturday. "There should be regular prophylactics to prevent this happening, but this distracts people, and there are not many of them there, it's a mini mine, with 20 people. So, distracted they were doing this work instead of mining the coal. The owner of the mine saw no gain in it," Lysiansky said.