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Pakistan: 12 killed after coal mine collapses in Balochistan's Harnai district, 8 rescued

There were 20 miners reported in the coal mine when it caved in following a methane gas explosion. An extensive rescue operation was green-lit by Balochistan CM Sarfaraz Bugti after which the bodies were recovered and surviving miners rescued.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Quetta Published on: March 21, 2024 6:42 IST
Pakistan, Balochistan, mine collapse
Image Source : PIXABAY Representational Image

Quetta: At least 12 miners were killed and eight others were rescued after an explosion in a coal mine in the Zardalo area of Balochistan's Harnai district, according to officials on Wednesday, according to Dawn. An official said that 20 miners were present inside the mine when a methane gas explosion took place overnight, leading to a collapse and the subsequent death of 12 miners.

The development comes after Balochistan Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti had taken notice of the incident while directing the authorities to carry out rescue and relief operations after a mine, located in Harnai's Zardalo area, had collapsed owing to a gas explosion, Geo News reported. The chief mines expert said the mine had been "sealed" following the culmination of the rescue operation. The rescued miners were found unconscious.

Balochistan chief inspector of mines Abdul Ghani Baloch said methane gas accumulated overnight in the mine, leading to the explosion. "The rescue operation has been completed by the government mining department and the disaster management agency and all 12 bodies have been recovered and sent to the hospital," he said.

There had been varying reports over the number of miners present inside the mine during the explosion. It was initially thought that there were only ten miners, then it was said that there were 18 miners, and the final number was reported to be 20. Rescue workers from the government mining department and the disaster management agency toiled through the night to reach them.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif issued a statement expressing “profound sorrow and grief over the loss of precious lives”. He said the government will provide all possible relief to the injured and affected families. Balochistan CM Bugti termed the operation very 'risky' and said that unregulated mining in the province was a big problem.

Balochistan is prone to mine collapses

National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Deputy Speaker Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah also expressed their grief on the incident. Conveying their condolences to the bereaved families, they prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.

Deaths of miners are frequently reported in the mineral-rich Balochistan province where, according to Abdullah Shahwani, the province's director general of mining, as unregulated mining is a major problem. "In these unregulated mines, there is a dearth of safety measures and working conditions are poor," he said.

In December last year, two coal miners were killed and three injured when a fire broke out in a private mine in Balochistan’s Duki coal field. In September, three workers were buried under the rubble of a coal mine in Sindh’s Jamshoro when a mine caved in.

In May 2018, 23 people were killed and 11  wounded after a series of gas explosions tore through two neighbouring coal mines in the same region. A total of 43 workers also died in 2011 when gas explosions triggered a collapse in another Balochistan colliery.

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