Russia gold mine rescue ‘difficult’ as crews yet to make contact with 13 trapped miners, official says

Rescuers in Russia have yet to contact the 13 miners who have been trapped hundreds of feet underground for nearly two days after a gold mine collapsed, a Russian official said Wednesday.

Specialist mine rescuers flew in from Russia’s coastal region and other Siberian regions to help dig through rubble and pump water out of the Pioneer gold mine in Eastern Siberia’s Amur region after a rock fall trapped the miners on Monday, Amur Governor Vasily Orlov wrote on Telegram.

“The situation remains difficult,” Orlov said, noting that no contact has been made with the miners since the collapse.

The miners were trapped nearly 400 feet underground, Russian media reported.

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Trucks are seen outside an entrance to the Pioneer gold mine in Russia’s Amur region, where a search and rescue operation was underway Tuesday after miners were trapped in a collapse. (Russian Emergencies Ministry/Handout via Reuters)

Hundreds of rescuers were racing to drill down through several hundred feet of rock to where the miners are believed to be located, Orlov said, according to Reuters. The RIA state news agency reported that the bulk of rubble and rock trapping the miners was nine times larger than earlier estimates.

Rescuers arrive for search and rescue operations at the Pioneer gold mine. (Russian Emergencies Ministry/Handout via Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is aware of the ongoing situation, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

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“The President gave instructions to take all necessary measures, all possible measures to save the miners who are trapped there in the shaft, and also to provide all necessary emergency assistance,” Peskov said.

Rescuers arriving for search and rescue operations at the Pioneer gold mine, where 13 miners were trapped after a rock fall on Monday. (Russian Emergencies Ministry/Handout via Reuters)

The Pioneer mine is one of the largestgold mining operationsin Russia based on processing capacity, Reuters reported, citing Russian media.

It was unclear what caused the collapse. Most mining accidents in the past have been blamed on violations ofsafety rules.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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