Coal  mine explosion lugansk
The bodies of two miners have been recovered after an explosion rocked a coal mine in the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic in Eastern Ukraine. Fifteen more people are missing, and survival chances appear slim.

A methane explosion hit the SkhidKarbon coal mine in the village of Yurievka on Thursday, trapping 17 miners underground. The head of the Lugansk People's Republic (LNR), Leonid Pasechnik, said that the rescuers have pulled up two bodies. Fifteen people remain unaccounted for.

The head of the region's emergency services, Evgeny Katsalapov, described the situation as "critical."

A witness reported that a total of 20 people were inside the mine at the time of the incident. A former overseer at the mine, who lives just 200 meters from the entrance, told Komsomolskaya Pravda daily that he felt a very powerful jolt and saw plumes of black smoke billowing from the mine.

He said that he saw three miners climbing out of the mine shortly after the explosion ripped through it, adding that the chances of more people emerging unscathed are about zero.

A mine-rescue unit of the Russian Emergencies Ministry was sent LNR to assist the local rescuers.

SkhidKarbon halted its operations when the military conflict with Kiev started in 2014. The mine resumed coal output only last January, producing almost 30,000 tons of coal in 2018.