File photo: AP

Moscow - Four miners missing since a methane blast in a coal mine in Russia's Kemerovo region last week were found dead in a shaft on Sunday, taking the death toll to eight.

“Four miners whose fate was unknown until today have been found without signs of life” in the mine, the regional emergency situations ministry said, adding their bodies would be retrieved later Sunday.

The explosion at Mine No 7 in the Kuzbass coal basin occurred on January 20. The workers were inspecting the mine, which had halted production after a collapsing wall killed one miner earlier this month.

The Kuzbass coal basin in West Siberia is Russia's biggest. Accidents there are relatively common due to ageing infrastructure, violations of ventilation safety requirements and tampering with gas-level monitoring equipment. - Sapa-AFP