Two men died but miraculously more than 100 reach the surface safely.
Kemerovo region has seen a number of serious mining accidents in recent years. Picture: Prokopievsk.ru
Reports say cigarettes, a lighter and possible drugs were found underground at Dzerzhinsky mine in the Kemerovo region city of Prokopyevsk, but was not confirmed. The dead were named as Nikolai Anisimov, 45, a miner, who was a father of ten, and underground engine driver Sergei Torbenko, 32, who has four children. Anisimov's youngest is just one year old.
One of the men died from severe head injuries, the other from asphyxia, it is understood. In all 105 men were underground at the pit in Siberia's famous Kuzbass mining region. The privately-owned mine is 3,482 kilometres (2,164 miles) east of Moscow. An investigation into the cause is underway.
Kemerovo Region Governor Aman Tuleyev ordered a check on all mines in the region to prevent smoking and drug paraphernalia from being smuggled underground, said Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. A methane blast at a coal mine in northern Russia last February killed 18 miners.
Kemerovo region has seen a number of serious mining accidents in recent years. In March 2007, 110 miners died in the Ulyanovskaya mine, the deadliest coal mine blast in the past 75 years. In February 2005, 25 miners and rescuers were killed in a blaze triggered by methane-air mixture explosion at the Yesaulskaya mine.
Located close to border region pivotal in war with Japan, experts say the pass was used to exchange intelligence.