Methane blasts in Pakistan coal mine kill 6, over 50 trapped

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 21, 2011 12:04 PM
Methane blasts in Pakistan coal mine kill 6, over 50 trapped

QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) - Methane gas sparked explosions inside a coal mine in Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchistan on Sunday, killing at least six miners and trapping over 50 whose chances of survival seem slim, a government official said.

The blasts occurred in a mine run by state-owned Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) in Surran range, some 35 km (22 miles) east of the provincial capital, Quetta.

"There were at least three explosions. There were 59 workers inside the mine when the explosions took place," Mohammad Iftikhar, chief inspector of mines in the region, told Reuters.

"So far bodies of six bodies have been retrieved. The rescue workers are trying hard but survival of remaining workers looks difficult because the mine is very deep."

Such explosions are not uncommon in coal mines in Pakistan, most of which are located in Baluchistan and neighboring Sindh province, where safety measures can be lax.

The country has huge coal reserves estimated at more than 184 billion tonnes. It produces 4 million tonnes of coal annually, most of which is consumed by brick-making kilns.

(Reporting by Gul Yusufzai; Writing by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Alex Richardson)