At least 10 people were killed and seven were reported missing in a blast at a coal mine in Russia, the Interior Ministry said Monday.
The blast occurred in the Vorkutinskaya mine owned by a division of one of Russia's largest steel producers, Severstal, at the northern Komi region, Reuters has reported.
According to the interior ministry, the blast occurred in the mining pit because of a build-up of methane.
About 250 men were in the mine at the time of the incident and about seven people reported missing are believed to be trapped in the rubble. Most of the miners were either able to come out their own or were rescued from the accident site. A 300-member rescue team is undertaking rescue operations at the site.
"We need a clear and understandable picture of what happened," Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov told the officials via a video link-up soon after the explosion, Reuters has reported.
Local media reported that several of the rescued miners are seriously injured. The investigative committee has launched a probe into possible safety violations, which could have caused the blast.
Accidents in coal mines are common in Russia, due to poor safety standards. In January alone, nine people died in two separate mine accidents in Russia. The regularity of accidents triggered a debate in the country about the safety measures in Russian mines.
In 2007, a methane explosion killed 110 people in one of the worst mine disasters in recent times, in the coal-rich region of Kemerovo. Another explosion in the same region in 2010 killed more than 60 miners.