Authorities in Russia’s Far East on Monday called off a two-week rescue effort to reach 13 workers trapped deep underground in a collapsed gold mine and declared them dead.

The miners got trapped on March 18 at a depth of about 125 meters (400 feet) when part of the mine collapsed in the Zeysk district of the Amur region, about 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) east of the capital, Moscow.


About 200 rescuers used powerful pumps to try to take out water that flooded the mine, posing a challenge to the salvage operation.

Regional authorities and the mine operator announced the termination of rescue efforts on Monday, saying the mine remained flooded and that more of its sections could collapse, jeopardizing emergency responders.

The company that operates the mine, one of Russia’s largest, said it would pay compensation to victims’ families.

Officials have not said what caused the accident. Most mining accidents in the past have been blamed on violations of safety rules.

Separately, one worker died in an explosion that caused a rock collapse in an iron mine in Russia’s central Sverdlovsk region on Monday, news agencies reported, cited the regional health ministry. The reports said the explosion was a planned operation and took place about 338 meters (1,080 feet) underground.

Five miners were trapped in the blast at the mine in Krasnoturinsk, 1,370 kilometers (850 miles) east of Moscow. Three of those brought to the surface were hospitalized in serious condition, the reports said.

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