ASTANA – President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared Oct. 29 as the national mourning day for victims of the fire at Kostenko mine on Oct. 28 during his visit to the Karagandy Region, reported Akorda press service.
The President met with the families and relatives of miners killed in the tragic accident and expressed his condolences. He assured that the circumstances of the accident will be investigated. The assistance will be provided to rescue the miners and to the families of the injured and dead.
“It is a tragedy. I understand everything, that’s why I came here. We will take measures, including the assistance to the families of the victims. The task is to provide all possible assistance through the government, akimat (local government) and charitable societies, so that the families of the victims and injured are not in need for anything,” Tokayev told the families of the miners.
Tokayev prioritized the efforts to rescue the miners still trapped underneath.
“First is rescue efforts. Secondly, we need to determine the exact number of people injured and in need of treatment. Thirdly, in relation to such a disaster, we will provide material assistance to all the affected families. If necessary, we will create a special fund, and I will manage it myself,” he said.
As of 3 p.m., the death toll from the fire at the mine reached 28, according to the Emergency Situations Ministry. As of 12 p.m., 206 out of 252 people were evacuated, and 18 of them sought medical help. The search for 18 miners continues.
“Today, on Oct. 28, in Karagandy, at 2.33 a.m., at the Kostenko mine of ArcelorMittal Temirtau, a fire occurred in the lava, located at a horizon of minus 100, around 700 meters deep. An emergency response plan was immediately introduced. Some time after the fire, an explosion allegedly followed,” said Murat Katpanov, head of the region’s emergency department.
President Tokayev instructed the government to cease investment cooperation with ArcelorMittal Temirtau mining company.
“This company turned out to be the worst in our history in terms of cooperation between the government and the enterprise. Now we need to think about taking action on the enterprise itself,” said Tokayev.
The government commission to investigate the causes of the accident at the mine was created, headed by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov.