Bodies of 10 of the 14 labourers trapped in a coal mine in Quetta's Sanjadi area have been recovered so far following a gas explosion last night — rescue teams told DawnNewsTV on Monday.
In addition to this, five rescue workers who had gone to recover the trapped miners also went missing earlier in the day, two of whom have been found dead, Quetta Commissioner Hashim Ghilzai told DawnNewsTV.
Rescue teams are trying to recover four other coal miners and three rescue workers who are still believed to be trapped in the mine, Ghilzai said. The excavation operation has been underway since yesterday.
Following the blast, the Balochistan Provincial Disaster Management Authority had said that the rescue teams were trying to retrieve the trapped miners, but had remained coy about the chances of their survival.
The miners belong to Shangla, Swat and Dir areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Poor working conditions inside coal mines in Balochistan claim the lives of miners on an almost daily basis in Harnai, Sowrange, Dukki, Mach and other parts of the province, but often go unreported.
Coal mining is considered much more hazardous than hard rock mining due to flat-lying rock strata, generally incompetent rock, leakage or explosion of poisonous gases and coal dust, collapsing of mine stopes or general mechanical errors from improper use and malfunctioning of mining equipment.
According to the Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation, between 100 and 200 labourers die on average in coal mine accidents every year.