Pakistan: Bodies of six coal miners, killed in methane gas explosion, recovered

Quetta (Pakistan), Mar 14 (PTI) The bodies of six coal miners who were killed in a methane gas explosion in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province have been recovered.

The explosion occurred on Friday at a depth of 1,000 feet in the Marwar area near the Afghanistan border, said Director-General of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority Naseer Khan.

He said eight workers were on duty at the time of the explosion. It is believed that the mine had collapsed due to a build-up of methane gas, which is highly inflammable.

“One worker, who went down to rescue his colleagues, also died after inhaling the deadly gas, Khan said.

He said a 24-hour-long search and rescue operation was launched and six bodies were recovered from the mine. The search is on for the remaining bodies.

Safety measures and other routine checks are commonly ignored in Pakistan’s mining industry.

President of Balochistan Coal Mine Workers Federation Muhammad Lala said in the last year 102 coal miners had been killed in 72 accidents in the province.

He said the government had done nothing to improve the safety conditions.

Last August, seven workers were killed in a methane gas explosion near Quetta.

Lala said apart from the accidents, workers also faced problems of militant activity and demand of ransom.

In early January, 11 Shia Hazara coal miners were killed by Islamic State terrorists in the province’s mountainous Machh area, leading to many coal mines closing down due to shortage of workers.