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30 dead in Russian mine blasts

By the CNN Wire Staff
Relatives sit near the Raspadskaya mine in the Kemerovo region of southwestern Siberia on Sunday.
Relatives sit near the Raspadskaya mine in the Kemerovo region of southwestern Siberia on Sunday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Death toll from explosions at a Russian mine climbed to 30
  • Search of the Siberian mine was suspended on Sunday because of limited visibility
  • 359 people working in mine near town of Mezhdurechensk when a gas explosion occurred
  • At least 18 rescue workers died in a second blast, while others were trapped
RELATED TOPICS
  • Russia
  • Siberia

(CNN) -- The death toll from explosions at a Russian mine climbed to 30 on Monday as rescue efforts resumed in western Siberia, the nation's Emergency Situations Ministry said.

A search of the mine was suspended on Sunday because of limited visibility, according to Elena Chernova, a spokeswoman for the ministry.

Three hundred and fifty nine people were working in the mine, near the western Siberian town of Mezhdurechensk, when a gas explosion occurred around 8:55 p.m. Saturday (12:55 p.m. ET).

More than 50 rescue workers descended into the mine to recover the victims when a second gas explosion occurred about four-and-a-half hours later, officials said. At least 18 of the rescue workers died in the second blast, while others were trapped.

Earlier Sunday, local officials blamed the accident on a partial rock collapse inside the mine.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged federal aid in responding to the disaster.

Mezhdurechensk is more than 2,300 miles east of Moscow.