KIEV:- Eight miners died Thursday when a methane gas explosion tore through a pit in western Ukraine, in the latest mine disaster in the ex-Soviet state. Rescuers said they had managed to save an additional 20 miners who were trapped underground when the blast hit the mine in the western Lviv region near the border with Poland. Ukraine’s emergency ministry and prosecutors said eight miners died. The ministry said six others were hurt.–AFP

Officials said Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Energy Minister Igor Nasalyk immediately left for the site after hearing the news.

Ukraine has frequent mine accidents that claim dozens of lives at a time.

But this is the first major explosion reported this year.