QUETTA/ SHANGLA: Rescue workers on Sunday morning retrieved the bodies of seven workers who were killed when a coal mine exploded and collapsed in Loralai district, an official said.
Deputy Commissioner Shazeb Kakar confirmed that the rescue operation had ended and that seven bodies were recovered.
Seven coal miners were trapped inside the Duki Coalfield in Tarkan area of Loralai district at a depth of 2,200 feet following an explosion on Thursday morning. The blast triggered a landslide as well. With no immediate rescue facility available nearby, local residents and workers from nearby mines rushed to the spot and used shovels and bare hands to dig out workers buried under the rubble.
A local government official confirmed that a rescue worker had also died during the challenging search operation. He said the bodies had been flown to the victims’ hometown.
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.
Meanwhile in Shangla, the hometown of the deceased coalminers, anger and grief boiled over the delay in rescuing the workers. Relatives wailed as they took to the streets to protest against the delay in rescuing their loved ones.
Two committees have been formed to probe the incident. According to the deputy commissioner, the panels will submit their reports to the chief minister.
Mining accidents are common in the insurgency-hit province, which is plagued by poor safety conditions. Dukki is one of the resource-rich areas of Balochistan, which has rich coal reservoirs. Last month, a gas explosion killed eight coal miners in the same district.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2015.
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