Seven miners were killed in an explosion at a coal mine in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan late on March 15, the second deadly accident in the region in a week.
Deputy Commissioner Sohail Anwar Hashmi said that a buildup of methane gas in the mine caused a blast as the workers were inside. The mine is located in the Torghar gas field in Balochistan's Harnai district.
“Rescue teams recovered the bodies of all seven coal miners this morning, who burnt to death as a huge fire broke out in the mine after the blast,” Chief Inspector of Mines Shafqat Fayyaz said.
Fayyaz said the miners were working at a depth of about 500 meters when the explosion occurred.
A probe has been ordered into the incident, Fayyaz said.
On March 12, eight miners were trapped around 300 meters below ground in a mine in the district of Marwar, near the border with Afghanistan, when a buildup of methane gas exploded. Six miners were killed and two other rescued.
Sparsely populated Balochistan is the scene of an ethnic Baluch separatist insurgency and a brutal state crackdown that has killed thousands of people since 2004.
The region is also home to large deposits of coal, natural gas, copper and gold, many of which are being extracted by Chinese-backed operations. Separatist militants often target workers and security forces.
Workers have repeatedly been killed in explosions caused by the accumulation of methane gas because of proper safety measures.
At least 27 workers died in two separate incidents in Balochistan in 2018, and 45 were killed in an explosion at a coal mine in 2011 in the province.