Moscow–Alrosa said Tuesday it is calling off the search for four of the eight men who have been trapped underground since an accident nearly two weeks ago at its Mir mine in Siberia.
In an email to National Jeweler on Tuesday, an Alrosa spokesperson said even though they’ve not been able to make contact with the miners, they’ve been able to determine via the electronic tags on the workers’ hard hats that four of the missing miners are on level 210 and the other four are on level 310.
Rescuers have been trying to reach the men ever since water flooded the underground diamond mine on Aug. 4, but Alrosa said rescue efforts have been hampered by metal structures and pipes as big as 325 mm in the rock mass, which they’ve had to cut through with motor drills and gas saws, and by the flooding.
On Tuesday morning, the company said rescue activities on level 310 have been halted because the level of water has risen above 1 meter (3.3 feet), making it too risky for rescuers to get there.
Rescue operations continue on level 210.
The eight men who were trapped underground by the flooding have been identified as as: drill rig operators Alexey Vladimirovich Vlasenko, Dmitry Evgenievich Zhukov and Dmitry Mikhailovich Mariin; shift foreman Valentin Anatolievich Misnik; blaster Igor Anatolievich Stepanov; acting foreman Vitaly Vitalievich Kulikov; stope miner Gleb Alexandrovich Mirontsev; and drill rig operator Mikhail Yurievich Neustroev.
In its email Tuesday, the company did not specify which miners were on which levels.
The underground portion of the Mir diamond mine flooded on Aug. 4 due to what Alrosa has so far described as a “sharp deterioration in mining and geological conditions.”
Initially, the flood trapped a total of 151 workers underground; 142 of them were brought to the surface within hours of the accident, while another man was rescued the following day.
Alrosa said its investigation into the exact cause of the accident continues, though it has noted that Mir was operating in full compliance with all technical and safety requirements.
The Russian government has launched an inquiry as well.