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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gas Sensors Probed in Mine Explosion

A methane gas explosion that killed 108 people at a Siberian coal mine could have been caused by the deliberate blockage of gas sensors or by the mine's poor design, the office of Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleyev said Saturday.

Experts investigating the blast concluded that it could have occurred because the mine's methane gas detection system had been blocked, allowing the gas to build up to unsafe levels, a spokesman for Tuleyev said.

The spokesman said only highly skilled miners or experts employed by Yuzhkuzbassugol, the company that operates the mine, could have blocked the sensors. He did not elaborate on why that would have been done.

The sensors that monitor methane and other gas levels might have been covered up with jackets to keep the system from sounding a warning and stopping all work at the facility, Kommersant reported last week.