An explosion caused by a build-up of gas struck a colliery in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, killing at least eleven miners, a spokeswoman for the emergencies services said, according to Reuters.

"One survivor and eleven bodies were found. We are looking for another 10 miners," she said by telephone from Donetsk, the main town in the Donbass coalfield where the Zasyadko mine is situated.

Earlier, an Emergencies Ministry spokesman in Kiev said 43 miners were trapped by the explosion caused by a mixture of coal powder and methane. Ihor Krol said together around 400 miners were underground when the blast occurred.

Accidents are frequent occurrences in Ukraine`s aging coal mines plagued by lack of cash and poor maintenance.

In August 2001, more than 50 miners died in a blast at the Zasyadko mine. A similar blast at the mine in July 2002 killed more than 20.