At least six people have died and 43 were injured in an explosion caused by a fire that broke out in a coal mine in the Kemerovo region of Siberia, while 49 miners were still trapped underground, authorities say.
Kemerovo region Governor Sergei Tsivilev said that 'there is no communication' with those who remained underground.
According to the Baza news website, rescuers are currently trying to reach the miners who remain trapped, but cannot reach them because of heavy smoke.
Hundreds have already been evacuated from the Listvyazhnaya mine in Kuzbass, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.
'Emergency rescue work is under way at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine,' the ministry's press service said. 'Some 236 people have been taken to the surface so far. The forces and equipment of [the ministry] are working at the site.'
Local paramedics said five people were in serious condition, two of them suffering from smoke inhalation. The hospitalized people are suffering from carbon-monoxide poisoning, Russian news agency TASS reported.
Tsivilev said on his Telegram channel that the death and the injuries were caused by the explosion.
At least 287 people were inside the mine early in the morning when the fire started, according to the owner of the mine, SDS-Ugol, one of Russia's largest coal companies.
Reports say a possible cause of the explosion, which happened at a depth of 250 meters and did not cause destruction, could have been the ignition of coal dust in the ventilation shaft, which led to the smoke spreading throughout the ventilation system.
The Listvyazhnaya mine was opened in 2003.
With reporting by Reuters and TASS
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