Thirty two people have been killed and 70 more are trapped underground following an explosion at a coal mine in rebel held eastern Ukraine.
The blast took place at a mine in the Donetsk region of the country and emergency services have launched a rescue attempt to reach those trapped.
“More than 30 people were killed. Rescue workers have not yet come to the place of the explosion, they are removing the poisonous gas and then will go down,” said Vladimir Tsymbalenko, head of the local mining safety service.
One of the men caught up in the blast and taken to a Donetsk hospital said: “I was blown away by an explosion. I came round. There was dust everywhere and people were moaning.”
Families of those caught up in the disaster have been gathering at the entrance to the mine in Zasyadko, Donetsk.
The mines in Donbass are among some of the most dangerous in the world due to the high levels of methane produced which increase the risk of explosions.
Separatist authorities in Donetsk said the blast occurred at a depth of more than 1,000 metres (0.6 miles) and that 230 workers were in the mine at the time.
The statement added the explosion was caused by a mixture of gas and air – a common cause of industrial mining accidents.
Some 300 men die in mine accidents in the region every year.