QUETTA: At least five coal miners were killed in a gas explosion in a coal mine in the Shahrag coal field area of Harnai district on Saturday, while another labourer remained untraceable during the daylong rescue operation.

The labourers were identified as Naseeb Gul, Sarfraz, Najeebullah, Rehman Ullah, Ghani Rehman and Bacha Khan. All of them belong to the Shangla area of Swat.

The incident came as a grim reminder of the Orakzai mine blast, that claimed the lives of nine labourers a few days ago.

Official sources said six labourers were working in a coal mine in the Shahrag area when a powerful blast took place and a portion of the mine collapsed, leaving all the miners trapped.

Other miners in the vicinity and rescue teams rushed to the site and launched an operation to rescue them and retrieve the bodies.

Speaking to Dawn, Chief Inspector of Mines Ghani Baloch explained that a fire erupted after the gas explosion some 1,500 feet deep inside the mine, blocked its mouth. He said rescue teams managed to recover five bodies of the coal miners.

“One body is still buried under the debris,” he said, adding that the incident took place at 9am when the miners were digging out coal.

He said rescue teams were making all-out efforts to find out the sixth miner. But “the presence of methane gas inside the mine is creating hurdle in rescue operations,” he added, expressing the apprehension that the man trapped inside the mine might not have survived.

The authorities have ordered an investigation into the incident.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2022

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