Russia coal mine fire kills 11

Image copyright AFP Image caption A steel mill in the Taganrog region, Siberia. More than 1,000 people have been working at the plant in the last few days

A coal mine fire in Russia’s Siberia has killed 11 people and is still burning underground.

Authorities in the Kuzbass region said more than 50 employees were still trapped as the fire continued to spread. They say efforts to open a shaft to reach them were being hampered by thick smoke.

The mine has been producing coal since 1940 and sits close to the Taganrog region, a region known for its steelmaking facilities.

Weather conditions and an unnamed power line were being blamed for the fire.

The region has been hit by a number of fires in recent days as local firefighting crews have been stretched by more than a million hectares (2.25 million acres) of forest and other fuel needs.

At least 12 firefighters have been killed trying to tackle these blazes, which have been lit by uncontrolled “black stubble” fanned by gale-force winds.

Kuzbass is one of Russia’s major coal mining regions.

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