MOSCOW (AP) - Officials say a blast at a coal mine in northern Russia has killed 18 people.
The Russian Interior Ministry says there were 23 men in the mine at the time of the blast that happened because of the build-up of methane. Two of them were able to get out on their own and three were rescued.
The Investigative Committee says Russian investigators have opened a probe into suspected violation of safety rules at the mine.
Deadly accidents at coal mines are frequent in Russia because of negligence and recurrent violations of safety regulations. In January, nine people died in two separate mine accidents.
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