At least 24 dead in mine blast - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

At least 24 dead in mine blast

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 The number of confirmed dead in a coal mine explosion in eastern Ukraine now stands at 24 or more. Nine others are still missing.

   The mine is in a separatist-controlled region of eastern Ukraine -- and Ukraine's government is accusing separatist authorities of not doing enough to save the lives of the miners. He says rebels prevented a team of 60 Ukrainian rescuers from reaching the mine to provide assistance. But a rebel spokesman denies that Ukraine had offered any help. And he's quoted as saying, "If we truly need assistance, we will turn to Russia."

   Rebel officials say the explosion was caused by methane gas -- rather than artillery fire between rebels and government troops.

   Miners arriving for their morning shift ended up doing most of the work to clear away debris. Reaching the area where the blast took place was complicated because the entrance that was closest to the accident has been shut by the artillery fire that has plagued the city of Donetsk.

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