Somewhere, Stalin Is Chuckling
Siberian mine disaster kills more than 100, rescuers search for survivors
The world may be addicted to oil, but it’s coal that’s doing us in. An explosion at a Siberian coal mine on Monday killed 106 workers, and rescuers were still searching for a handful of missing people today. While 93 lucky bastards escaped with their lives, the accident — caused by a build-up of methane at a depth of nearly 890 feet — is said to be Russia’s worst mining disaster in a decade. So, must have been a creaky, outdated, unsafe facility, right? Nyet. The mine, about 2,000 miles east of Moscow, opened in 2002 and was equipped with state-of-the-art technology. In fact, the victims of the explosion included a British engineer, his interpreter, and 20 members of the mine’s senior management team, who were apparently there to inspect or install an English-made hazard monitoring system. Alexander Sergeyev, chair of the Independent Coal Miners’ Union, called for new methane-ventilation laws and criticized quota systems that pressure miners to work too quickly. But: coal mining? Still crazy.