|Vatican||POPE SADDENED BY MINING CATASTROPHE IN UKRAINE|
John Paul II has sent a message of condolence and expressed his closeness to the families of 81 miners who died in an explosion, and of 200 who survived the tragedy in the Ukrainian region of Lugansk.
According to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, based on a preliminary investigation, the accident was caused by a methane explosion due to violation of security norms. However, labour union leaders attribute the explosion to carbon dust ignited by soldering equipment. Close to 200 miners were able to escape unhurt after trying to rescue their trapped fellow miners. The explosion occurred 664 meters underground.
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