Hazardous work: Eight coal miners killed in Balochistan mine explosion

A formal rescue missing started 15 hours later on Friday afternoon


Shezad Baloch February 20, 2015
A file photo of coal miners in Balochistan. PHOTO: PPI

QUETTA: At least eight coal miners were killed when a coalmine in Loralai district collapsed on Thursday, while 14 others were injured as they mounted a rescue effort.

According to details, seven coalminers were working in a mine in the Duki Coalfield in Tarkan area of Loralai District on Thursday. At around 5pm, an explosion occurred inside the mine causing a landslide and trapped the miners inside.

With no rescue facility available nearby, a rescue team was called in from Quetta. In the meantime, 15 miners from nearby mines rushed to the spot and started a rescue mission on self-help basis. As they tried to reach the trapped miners, one miner in the second team died due to suffocation from methane inhalation while 14 others suffered injuries.

A formal rescue missing started 15 hours later on Friday afternoon, and rescue workers were still trying to pull bodies and the injured from the mine.

“Eight coalminers have died while 14 were injured,” Levies Official of Duki Habibur Rehman confirmed to The Express Tribune. “At least seven coalminers were working deep in the coalmine when an explosion occurred inside the mine at 5pm on Thursday,” he said

“The coalmine was filled with Methane gas,” Rehman added. “We are facing difficulties in the rescue operation as the mine totally collapsed after the land slide.”

The coalminers killed in the incident were identified as Bakht Afzal Yusufzai, Mir Alam Khan, Azeem Khan Yusafzai, Taib Khan, Mohaib Khan, Alam Khan and Taj Mohammed while Hameedullah had died while trying to rescue his colleagues. They all were residents of Shangla and Swat from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

According to Mines and Mineral Department, there are around 350 legal coalmines in Duki Coalfield in addition to dozens of illegal coalmines.

A senior official of Mines and Mineral Department of Balochistan has revealed that the mine inspectors usually do not visit the coalmines to properly check whether the safety measures are properly adopted during the mining and the level of Methane gas is not too dangerous for the miners. “The Chief Inspector visit the coalmines weekly to take bribes and do not go inside the mine for which they are assigned,” the senior official said on the condition of anonymity.

Despite the several attempts made by The Express Tribune, the Secretary Mines and Mineral could not be reached for comment.

There are more than 5,000 coalmines in Balochistan where safety measures are not properly adopted which often lead to fatal incident claiming the precious lives of miners.

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