Eighteen workers died Monday in a gas explosion at a coal mine in the remote northern city of Vorkuta, the Russian Interior Ministry said.

"According to the reports we had as of 2:20 p.m. Moscow time (1020 GMT), 18 people have died, 10 of whom had already come to the surface," a ministry spokesman told the Interfax news agency.

The accident occurred in the Vorkutinskaya mine at 0628 GMT on Monday, authorities said.

Police in Vorkuta said 242 workers were able to get to the surface and out of the mine immediately after the explosion, which occurred at a depth of 800 meters (2,600 feet)

Emergency teams rescued three injured miners.

The families of each of those killed in the incident will receive compensation of 2 million rubles ($67,000), government Minister Vladimir Puchkov said.

"For us, now the important thing is the rescue operation. The matter of the compensation will be resolved later," a spokesman for the Vorkutauglia mining company told Interfax.

Vorkutinskaya has been the site of several accidents, the most serious of which killed 59 people on Feb. 20, 1964. EFE