Islamabad: Two neighbouring coal mines collapsed after gas explosions in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, killing 23 people, officials said on Sunday.
The first accident occurred in Marwaarh, 45 kilometres east of provincial capital Quetta, due to a gas explosion yesterday.
The roof caved in following the blast triggered by the accumulation of methane gas, killing 16 miners, Deputy Commissioner Farrukh Atique told PTI. “We have recovered all the 16 bodies from the rubble caused by the collapse in the coal mine,” Atique said.
There were 30 labourers inside the mine when the explosion occurred. All the injured miners were rescued and taken to the hospital. Rescue officials said a dozen of the dead miners belonged to Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“The collapse apparently took place because of a gas explosion and the miners working at that time were trapped inside. Some died on the spot, while others who were badly injured breathed their last under the rubble,” Atique said. Chief of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Muhammad Tariq also confirmed that 16 miners had been killed. Hours later, another coal mine collapsed in Sooranj area, in which seven miners were killed, Geo TV reported.
Two workers were rescued in an unconscious state, while bodies of two miners were recovered last night, an official said. The rescue operation resumed this morning and bodies of remaining five labourers were recovered.
Mining is considered highly dangerous in Pakistan where dozens of miners are killed each year due to lack of modern mining facilities, training and equipment.
According to the Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation (PCMLF), about 100 to 200 labourers die on average in coal mine accidents every year. Last month, at least 11 miners were killed in two separate mining incidents in Darra Adam Khel area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Jhelum district of Punjab.