Moscow–Alrosa announced on Saturday that dangerous conditions wouldn’t allow it to continue its rescue operations at the Mir mine in Siberia, where eight miners have been missing since the mine flooded on Aug. 4.
Two weeks ago, Alrosa indicated that water levels wouldn’t allow rescue workers to reach four of the eight missing miners. Now, the miner has said that the risk of a sudden “inrush” of water in the mine shaft and the risk of collapse of the mine infrastructure has made any search and rescue operation impossible to continue.
For three weeks, 150 Alrosa employees and 170 specialists of the Russian Emergencies Ministry have been conducting the search for the miners in three daily shifts around the clock.
Conditions worsened on Aug. 18, when the water flooding the underground portion of the mine also began accumulating in the open pit. The underground aspect of the search was suspended on Aug. 19.
For five days after, explosions were conducted in the mine in an attempt to divert the water, but efforts were unsuccessful.
Alrosa said medical experts have opined that the eight missing miners could not have survived for the past three weeks without drinking water and food in such a high-humidity environment with flood mudflow that has a high content of hydrogen sulfide and salts.
Alrosa President Sergey Ivanov commented, “It is with a heavy heart that I am forced to announce that there is no more hope that we can find the missing miners alive and bring them to the surface. We are deeply shocked by what happened. This is a great tragedy for the whole company.
“Unfortunately, knowing that we have done everything possible to rescue the people cannot be a comfort to their loved ones. As the head of the company, I guarantee that the miners’ families will receive the necessary support and financial aid–timely and in full. On behalf of Alrosa, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the miners. We mourn with you.”
The eight missing miners’ families will receive RUB 2 million, or approximately $34,208 per current exchange rates, in addition to insurance payments.
In connection with the incident, today–Aug. 29–was declared a day of mourning in the Republic of (Sakha) Yakutia, Alrosa said Tuesday morning, to allow for a day for the town of Mirny and the Republic to pay their last respects to the miners.
Entertainment events were canceled in Yakutia and flags on public buildings are flying at half-mast. A mourning prayer service and a farewell ceremony for the miners also have been arranged in Mirny, the mining company said.
Alrosa released the below information on the eight missing men.
Alexey Vladimirovich Vlasenko, drill rig operator
Born in 1984, he lived in Belgorod Region and worked at Mir underground mine as a staff member of Alrosa’s subcontractor Belspetsmontazh LLC.
Dmitry Evgenievich Zhukov, drill rig operator
Born in 1990, he lived in Belgorod Region and worked at Mir underground mine as a staff member of Alrosa’s subcontractor Belspetsmontazh LLC.
Vitaly Vitalievich Kulikov, acting foreman
He was born in Bogoroditsk, Tula Region in 1975. Over the past 18 years, he worked in Alrosa and lived in Mirny.
Dmitry Mikhailovich Mariin, drill rig operator
Born in 1979, he lived in Belgorod Region and worked at Mir underground mine as a staff member of Alrosa’s subcontractor Belspetsmontazh LLC.
Gleb Alexandrovich Mirontsev, stope miner
Born in Makeevka, Donetsk Region, in 1986, he started working in Alrosa in Mirny in 2015.
Valentin Anatolievich Misnik, (shift) foreman
Born in 1969, he lived in Belgorod and worked at Mir underground mine as a staff member of Alrosa’s subcontractor Belspetsmontazh LLC.
Mikhail Yurievich Neustroev, drill rig operator
Born in Yakutsk in 1975, he moved to Mirny in 2003 and started working in Alrosa in 2012.
Igor Anatolievich Stepanov, blaster
Born in Mirny in 1982, he started working in Alrosa in 2004.