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At least 17 killed in 2 mine accidents in Ukraine
Officials: at least 17 killed, 9 missing in 2 accidents in Ukrainian coal mines
By The Associated Press

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) ' Ukrainian emergency officials say that an explosion at one coal mine and an elevator collapse at another have killed at least 17 people and injured 11. Nine miners are still missing in the blast.

Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Yulia Yershova told the Associated Press that an elevator at the Bazhana mine in the eastern Donetsk region collapsed on Friday morning, killing one worker and injuring 8 others. Hundreds of other workers are leaving the mine through emergency exits.

Earlier in the day, a powerful explosion rocked a different mine, also in eastern Ukraine, killing 16 workers and injuring three. Rescuers are looking for nine who are still missing.

Ukraine's mines are some of the world's most dangerous due to outdated equipment and widespread disregard for safety regulations.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) ' Rescue workers in eastern Ukraine are looking for nine miners missing after a powerful blast at a coal mine that killed at least 16 people and injured three early Friday, officials said.

Regional officials believe the blast at the Suhodilsk-Eastern mine in the eastern Luhansk region was likely caused by methane, the Luhansk regional administration said in a statement.

The blast hit the mine shortly before 2 a.m. Friday at a depth of 915 meters (3,000 feet) when miners were working the night shift. Three workers were rushed to the hospital and were being treated for burns.

Ukraine's coal mines are among the world's most dangerous due to outdated equipment and poor safety standards.

On Tuesday, three workers died at another mine in the eastern part of the country when the roof collapsed.

Senior government officials arrived at the mine early Friday and were working to establish the cause of the accident. President Viktor Yanukovych was also expected to fly to the site later in the day, according to his office.

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