78 killed in mining explosion in Siberia
Seventy-eight people died in a methane explosion in a coal mine in Siberia, with another 50 people still missing, according to an AP report (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/world/4644122.html).
Up to 200 people were in the mine when the explosion occurred. So far at least 75 people have been rescued. Company officials and safety experts are among the missing in the worst Russian mining disaster in a decade.
Rescuers were checking open sections of the mine for survivors and have been in contact with some of the trapped survivors.
The mine is located in the city Novokuznetsk, where two of the deadliest mine disasters have occurred in the past decade.
This mine was partially owned by Evraz SA, a large conglomerate that government officials have accused of cutting corners to save money. The chairman of the Indepedent Coal Miner's Union said the miners may have encountered a pocket of methane and he suggested the need to develop safety methods to deal with these problems.
Some have suggested that the miners may have been careless due to quota systems that force them to work faster and harvest more coal.
According to a Bloomburg report, the Russian government will set up a state commission to investigate the explosion (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=a5zmxhvgysCU&refer=europe).
The region were the explosion occurred produces 56% of Russia's coal. A similar accident in the area occured in February 2005.
I thought the AP story took the wrong focus. The important thing to me is the deaths and the people still trapped in the mine. The story had very little information about the people rescued or the efforts to get the people still trapped. There wasn't a human face on the story. It tried to divide its time between a story about the explosion and a story about coal mining problems throughout all of Russia. I felt the U.S. comparison was unnecessary. Even by looking at the lead you can see that the explosion is more important than the fact that 78 people died. And I also thought it was unfair that the only specific deaths mentioned were that of a British man and his interpreter. The story's quotes were used well, but they were more fitting to a story about the whole system of coal mining in Russia, not a specific, developing story about a mining explosion. The Bloomburg story had similar problems. It only spent the first three graphs on the actual explosion and rescue mention. Later it bogs down into the broad context of Russia's coal mining industry. These facts all seem really inconsequential.