Alrosa confirmed the incident, saying that the water breakthrough took place at 4:30pm local time.
According to company head Sergey Ivanov, 142 miners were inside the mine when the incident took place. “Currently 133 people have been taken to the surface,” he said in a statement, adding that rescuers are still searching for nine people.
Rostekhnadzor, Russia’s ecology watchdog has arrived at the diamond mine, the body’s official Yulia Neposedova told TASS. “A commission to investigate the incident will soon be established.” An exhausted pit filled with some 300,000 cubic meters of water may have been the source of the flooding in the mine, a local emergency services spokesperson said.
The Mir mine was opened back in the 1950s. The length of the mine tunnels reaches 10km (6.2 miles), according to the Alrosa website, and its depth is 1,000 meters (3,300ft). The mine’s output is 1 million tons.