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Trapped Russian miners found alive

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11 survived six-day ordeal, one dead, one missing

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Eleven of 13 coal miners who were trapped in a deep shaft in southern Russia for six days were found alive Wednesday, and rescuers led them out of the mine after blasting a tunnel through solid rock. One of the trapped miners died underground and one remained missing, emergency officials said.

MEANWHILE, in the Primorye region of the Russian Far East, five miners were killed in a mine explosion. Sixty-six other miners were rescued after the blast Wednesday in the town of Partizansk, said Viktor Beltsov, a spokesman for the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry.

At the mine in southern Russia, rescuers reached the men on Wednesday morning after drillers punched through to the pitface where the miners had sought refuge.

“The guys looked fine for people who have been trapped in a mine for six days. They came out themselves,” said Alexander Smetalin, one of the rescuers. “They were found in the northern part of the mine. They were lying there all together.”

In spite of their ordeal, most of the miners walked out of the shaft on their own. Black dust coated their faces and thick blankets were draped over their shoulders.

As they emerged from the shaft, relatives who had kept vigil outside the mine cried out their names. A crowd of doctors, policemen and rescue workers surrounded the men as they were hustled into waiting ambulances.

Two of the men were carried out on stretchers, and one was in critical condition, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. The Interfax news agency said that the director of the mine, Vasily Avdeyev, who was among those trapped, had survived.

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