Rescue workers and villagers succeeded in recovering the bodies of all trapped mine workers on Friday, after an unrelenting search effort, police and villagers said.
Nine miners and two contractors from nearby villages were having lunch near the mouth of the phosphate mine in the Batkinala Tarnawai village on Wednesday afternoon, when a heavy boulder fell on them burying them alive.
Residents of the area, along with civil defence personnel and workers of 1122 took part in the rescue operation which continued for over 50 hours without a break. The rescue teams used blasting techniques to enable them to get to the bodies, said official sources.
“The bodies could have been recovered much earlier had we received sensors, which the provincial government failed to provide,” said Ehsan, head of the rescue team 1122.
The district administration, on the other hand, said that the mine was not accessible by roads, which was the chief reason behind the delay in the rescue of trapped miners.
The first body was recovered at around midnight on Thursday and the operation concluded on Friday afternoon, when the last body was retrieved at around 2pm. Police and eyewitnesses said all the bodies were mutilated beyond recognition, with relatives having to identify them from their clothes.
After a lapse of about 36 hours, the villagers lost hope of rescuing the trapped miners and prepared their graves on Thursday. The villagers buried the bodies one after another amid moving scenes.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2012.
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