Four labourers, including three Afghan nationals, died of suffocation on Monday when poisonous gas filled a coalmine in Chamalang coalfield in Loralai district.
According to a Balochistan levies official, at least four miners were extracting coal inside a mine in Chamalang despite the presence of methane gas. They fainted due to the poisonous gas and consequently died.
Rescue workers, most of them coalminers working nearby, reached the site and retrieved the bodies from the mine. The deceased were identified as Wali Jan, Musa Khan, Naseebullah and Zahir Khan. Their bodies were shifted to a nearby state-run hospital and later sent to their ancestral town.
“Mine-related incidents are common in Balochistan due to lack of proper safety measures. The coalminers work in appalling conditions,” an official of the Balochistan Mines and Mineral Department said.
Over 100 coalminers lost their lives in 2011 in Balochistan alone.
Mine owners are supposed to provide safety equipment such as gas detectors, hats, oxygen masks and gloves before miners begin extraction inside the mines, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2012.