Three explosions of methane gas at a faulty coal mine in an Arctic Russian town have killed 36 people, including five rescuers, officials and families said Sunday. Two blasts tore through the Severnaya mine in the Komi region late Thursday, killing four miners and leaving another 26 trapped deep underground, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said. Another explosion killed five rescuers and one miner early Sunday as they were digging through the rubble to install insulated blocks with a gas that would help to quell the fire that is still raging in the mine, the Emergencies Ministry said.

Russia’s deputy prime minister said the 26 miners are presumed dead because of high levels of carbon monoxide and methane in the mine. “We don’t have any hope that the 26 people left in the mine are still alive,” Arkady Dvorkovich said in televised remarks adding that their families will get a million rubles ($13,300) each.

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