At least three miners were killed after a coal mine they were working in partially collapsed following a gas explosion in Balochistan's coal-rich Dukki district on Monday morning.
Three coal miners still remain trapped inside the mine, more than eight hours after the explosion, according to Shafqat Fayyaz, the chief inspector of mines.
The six miners were working 1,700 feet deep inside the mine when a methane gas explosion resulted in a portion of the mine to collapse, Fayyaz told DawnNewsTV. The rescue workers were able to retrieve three bodies from the debris. The dead miners were identified as Muhammad Omar, Abdul Manan and Abdul Ghani.
"The miners are engaged in the rescue operation on their own," Abdul Hakeem, an office-bearer of the mines labour union said. "No one from the government has shown up here until now," he said in the afternoon.
Khair Muhammad Kakar, the president of the local labour federation also complained that no one from the mines department had come to oversee the rescue operation.
"I called the mines inspector thrice but he did not respond," Kakar claimed.
However, the chief inspector of mines asserted that a rescue team from the Chamalang area was called to the affected mine to retrieve the trapped miners. "Our utmost effort is to rescue the trapped miners at this time," he said.
Hazardous working conditions inside coal mines of Balochistan have been claiming precious human lives. As per the statistics provided by the provincial Mines and Minerals Development Department, over 1,000 coal miners have died in such kind of incidents during the last 18 years in Balochistan.
Today's incident comes just a couple of weeks after four miners lost their lives in a powerful explosion inside a mine in the Chamalang coal field, also in Dukki district.
According to government sources, there are at least 20,000 labourers employed across Balochistan in 2,500 mines.