Donetsk, Nov 18 – DAN. Preliminary investigation into the Skochinsky mine accident has revealed that the fire below the ground was followed by an explosion, the State Mines Inspector Office said on Wednesday.

"Preliminary, yesterday a methane-air detonation hit the mine injuring three employees of the Ministry of Emergencies," said one of the State Mines Inspector Office members.

A fire broke out in the conveyor gallery located in the 6th western face of the Skochinsky mine on November 17 at 5.20 a.m. as 26 miners were underground; 22 were evacuated.

Four miners remain unaccounted for after the evacuation of personnel.

Currently mine rescuers are carrying out engineer reconnaissance of the mine and ventilation systems, and install gas detectors of continuous methane and carbon monoxide. The accident site is being ventilated.

The decision on search efforts will be adopted after the situation stabilizes.

The Skochinsky mine was commissioned in 1975. It produces quality metallurgical coals of grades “Zh” and “K”. The company has produced some 30 million tons of coal tunnelling some 250 kilometres since  the start of operation. The maximum tunnel depth is 1,350 metres. The company employs about 2,300 people.*ot