QUETTA: At least 18 workers died and several others suffered injuries when a gas explosion and mudslide struck two coal mines in Balochistan on Saturday.
The blast occurred because of accumulation of methane gas in three branches linked to the main mine in the Marwar area. The mines collapsed, dumping the rubble at the exit point and trapping the workers inside.
The other incident was caused by a mudslide in a mine in the Sur-range area, some 60km east of Quetta.
“At least sixteen miners died in the Marwar mines,” said Chief Inspector of Mines Iftikhar Ahmed.
Mr Ahmed, who rushed to Marwar leading a rescue team, said: “Eleven bodies have been retrieved so far and the rescue operation is in progress.”
Mudslide and gas explosion hit mines in Balochistan’s Marwar and Sur areas
Nine coal miners were rescued. They were taken to the Bolan Medical College Hospital, Quetta, where two were said to be in serious condition.
Quetta Commissioner Javed Anwar Shahwani confirmed 16 miners were killed in the Marwar mines. “Rescue teams found the way in the affected mines and launched the rescue operation which is still going on,” he said.
Nine of the deceased were identified as Abdul Rahim, Muhammad Bashar, Abdul Waheed, Muhammad Khalid, Nasarullah, Abdullah Khan, Abdul Haq, Liaquat Ali and Abdul Latif.
According to media reports, the labourers belonged to the Shangla area of Swat.
Most of the bodies were in a bad condition.
Official sources said that 25 to 30 workers were inside the mines, run by a private company, when the explosion occurred.
Provincial Disaster Management Authority director Ataullah Baloch said the rescue operation would be completed on Sunday.
Two more workers were killed and five others injured in a landslide inside a coal mine of the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation in the Sur-range coal mine field.
Levies officials said seven workers were inside the mine when the incident took place. A rescue operation was in progress till late in the evening.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation president Sultan Mohammad Khan said that over 27 miners were killed in the two accidents and several others injured.
Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2018