Close to 1000 coal miners were trapped underground yesterday in three separate mines following fighting in Ukraine.
Heavy shelling in the Donetsk area cut power to the Abakumov and Skochinisky mines early in the day, trapping the workers underground, Korrespondent reports.
The region’s defence minister Edward Basurin confirmed that more workers were trapped inside.
““The Abakumov and Skochinsky mines lost power, trapping 379 people [at both sites],” Basurin said.
“They are getting to the Skochinsky mine’s disabled substation [to restore power],” he explained.
By midday all of the miners from the Abakumov operation were rescued and brought to the surface, local media stated.
However 24 miners remained underground at the Skochinisky mine as of this morning.
Later he added that even more workers were trapped at the Zasyadko operation in Donetsk’s Kiev region.
“There are 375 miners currently underground that they are now trying to bring to the surface,” he said.
He later added that there was actually closer to 580 workers trapped underground at the Zasyadko operation.
These workers were also later rescued, with local reports stating: “Electric power supply was restored at the mine, [with] all the miners already on the surface.”
This is the second time this year heavy shelling has trapped workers at the Zasyadko coal mine, after close to 500 workers were trapped when the nearby power station was destroyed during artillery barrages.
Around 33 workers were also killed at the site in March following an underground explosion at the operation.
Heavy fighting also trapped miners underground for a number of days last year in similar circumstances after heavy shelling cut power to the Komosomolets-Donbasu coal mine.