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Pakistan: Twelve killed, eight rescued after coal mine hit an explosion in Balochistan

Image Credit: PDMA Balochistan

Quetta: At least twelve miners were killed and eight retrieved alive after a coal mine collapse resulted owing to a gas explosion in the Zardalo area of Balochistan’s Harnai district, confirmed the officials on Wednesday.

Abdul Ghani Baloch, the provincial chief inspector of mines, said, "The rescue operation has been just completed.” 

He said 20 miners were trapped inside when the mine collapsed after a methane gas explosion overnight. The rescue team recovered twelve dead bodies while eight survivors immediately took medical assistance. 

The Chief Inspector of Mines for Balochistan, Abdula Ghani Baloch, said, “Two bodies were recovered during the night, with the remaining 10 retrieved early in the morning,” Abdullah Shahwani, the province’s director general of mining, also confirmed the death toll, as per Dawn reported.

Earlier, it was reported that 20 miners were trapped after a powerful explosion caused the coal mine to collapse. Following the incident, a rescue-and-relief operation was launched. 

In initial reports, it was considered that only ten miners were involved in the coal mine located about 80 kilometres east of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. Rescue workers from both the government mining department and the disaster management agency worked throughout the night to evacuate the trapped miners. The government rescue team also retrieved the group of eight people who, in an attempt to rescue their fellow miners, got trapped for several hours. Some of them were found unconscious.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressed his “profound sorrow and grief over the loss of precious lives” in a statement. The premier also ordered the authorities to provide all possible medical treatment to the injured miners and affected families and termed such incidents “very painful and sad.”

Pakistan has a long history of a series of coal mine explosions due to a lack of infrastructure and low safety standards. In May 2018, in the same region, 23 people were killed and eleven were injured due to gas explosions in the two neighbouring coal mines.

The head of the Balochistan Coal Mines Workers Federation, Lala Sultan, said, “This incident is neither the first nor will it be the last in Balochistan." He criticised the government's negligence towards Balochistan. 

“Safety measures at coal mines are scarcely implemented. While other provinces have some safety protocols in place, in Balochistan, safety is utterly neglected.” He further added. 

Pakistan has a vast range of coal mines extended in the western areas that sit near the Afghan border. Mine explosions are common here due to major gas buildups.


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