Pakistani authorities said yesterday that they had rescued one miner who survived two days trapped in a coal mine after a fire that killed nine others in central Pakistan.
An electrical short circuit sparked the blaze on Sunday at the mine east of Quetta, the capital of oil- and mineral-rich Baluchistan province.
Eleven miners were working around 4,000’ (1,200m) underground at the time.
One was quickly saved but poisonous carbon monoxide gas hampered rescue efforts.
Officials confirmed yesterday that just one of the remaining 10 had been discovered alive.
“We have found nine bodies,” Abdullah Shahwani, a top provincial official for the industry, told AFP.
The surviving miner was critically injured, he said.
Provincial government spokesman Liaquat Shahwani confirmed the toll.
The coal mine is run by the state-owned Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation.
“It took authorities more than 50 hours to complete the rescue operation,” said Sultan Mohamed, secretary-general of the Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation.
Poor working conditions inside coal mines in Balochistan regularly claim lives, but accidents often go unreported.
Mohamed said that around 150,000 people work in the mining industry in Pakistan, and more than 100 die every year in accidents.
He said 90 miners have died so far this year, while in 2018, more than 160 died and another 300 were wounded.
Baluchistan is Pakistan’s largest province and hosts a Chinese-built deep-sea port, part of Beijing’s road and rail corridor known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is designed to access markets in the Middle East and beyond.
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