QUETTA: Seven coal miners died of gas suffocation inside a coal mine in Balochistan's Dukki area on Friday morning.
"A poisonous gas penetrated inside the coal mine causing the death of seven miners," Rasheed Abro, the inspector of mines, told Dawn.
Coal miners were trapped inside the mine on Thursday afternoon. Over a dozen miners were rescued by colleagues and then shifted to a poorly equipped basic health unit for treatment.
One of the miners died on Thursday evening, however, seven remained trapped inside the coal mine for more than 24 hours.
Abro said that a rescue team was rushed from Quetta to rescue the miners. However, the team was extremely late in doing so.
Wali Khan Nasar, a local journalist, told Dawn that the rescue team arrived in Dukki after a delay of twenty hours. Had the rescue team arrived on time, the lives of the ill-fated miners would have been saved, he said.
Coal miners working nearby rushed towards the affected mine and launched a rescue operation on their own to help their colleagues. They succeeded in rescuing 13 coal miners, Levies official Muhammad Qasim said.
Such untoward incidents are common in coal mines of Balochistan in general and in Dukki in particular. The lack of safety arrangements always lead to deaths of poverty-hit miners. Most of the miners working in Dukki are Afghan nationals.
Dukki has rich coal reservoirs and supplies coal to different cities in Punjab to industries and factories.