Nine miners plummeted to their deaths and another 19 received injuries when a steel rope of a cage broke at a coal mine in Ukraine’s separatist-controlled east, local authorities said on Tuesday.
The workers were descending into the mine shaft in the town of Voznesenovka in the eastern Lugansk region on Monday when the accident occurred.
“The rope of a cage which was lowering the miners to their workplaces broke,” the emergencies service of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic said in a statement.
The emergencies service said that the bodies of nine people were brought up to the surface, while 19 people were hospitalized.
“A government commission that will investigate the accident has been put together,” the statement added.
Deadly accidents are common in Ukrainian mines, most of which are located in the country’s industrial past.
Many mines are underfunded and poorly equipped and safety violations are frequent.
In the worst mining accident in the country’s post-Soviet history, more than 100 miners were killed in an explosion at the Zasyadko mine in eastern Ukraine in 2007.
Kiev has been battling pro-Russia separatists in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions since 2014 in a conflict that has claimed more than 13,000 lives.
Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and arms across the border to support the separatists. Moscow has denied the claims.