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20 Die in Ukrainian Mine Blast

April 4, 1998

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) _ A methane gas explosion and fire tore through a deep Ukrainian coal mine Saturday, killing at least 20 miners, emergency officials said. The death toll was expected to rise.

The blast occurred at a depth of more than 3,600 feet in the Skachinskoho mine in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, said Ivan Dunayev, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Emergencies Ministry.

There were 269 miners at work at the time, 72 of them in the vicinity of the explosion, Dunayev said.

``Unfortunately, we expect more victims because the explosion was followed by a fire,″ he said.

The Skachinskoho mine is in the city of Donetsk, about 400 miles southeast of Kiev.

Emergency officials said they had not determined what caused the blast.

More than 160 miners have died in Ukrainian mine accidents this year.

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