QUETTA: Six miners were killed after a methane gas explosion in a coalmine in the Duki coal field area of Balochistan on Monday.

Official sources said that a group of over 20 miners entered the coalmine on Sunday night. Four of them were digging around 1,700 feet deep inside the mine when the explosion occurred. After the explosion a portion of the mine collapsed and a fire broke out inside it.

They said that after the explosion two other miners, who were at an upper part at the time, tried to rescue their colleagues. But they were trapped inside the mine and died after inhaling poisonous gas.

As many as 19 miners, who were not positioned so deep inside the mine, were rescued.

Soon after receiving information about the incident, personnel of the mines department reached the area and launched a rescue operation.

The bodies of all six miners were taken out of the mine.

Inspector Mines Mohammad Atif told Dawn that the affected mine had been closed, adding that an inquiry had been ordered by the chief inspector of mines.

He said methane gas accumulated in the mine caused the explosion.

About 300-foot-long portion of the mine collapsed after the explosion, he added.

Three of the victims were identified as Moham­mad Omar, Abdul Manan and Abdul Ghani. Identity of others could not be ascertained immediately.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Central Mines Labour Fed­eration secretary general Sultan Mohammad Khan criticised mine owners for not taking safety measures for miners.

He said that around 135 coalmines in different parts of Balochistan had poor safety measures. Duki, Chamalang, Harnai, Sharigh, Sorrange, Degari and Much were dangerous places for miners to work, he added.

Mr Khan urged the government to take immediate steps for provision of safety measures for miners.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2019