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52 Miners Trapped After a Coal Mine Accident in Pakistan

By March 21, 2011

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One more coal mine accident. Methane gas sparked an explosion inside a coal mine in Pakistan's south western province of Baluchistan, trapping 52 miners, on March 20.

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

Rescue workers used shovels and bare hands Monday to dig out victims buried by the explosions and officials said they feared all 52 miners underground at the time of the accident were dead. The workers have recovered 24 bodies after digging through one of the mine three wings, said Iftikhar Ahmed, a top mine inspector to Time.com.

"The search was slowed by the presence of poisonous methane gas, which caused Sunday's explosions, and also by the fragile state of the mine, which prevented the use of heavy machinery", he said.

"The bodies found so far were at a depth of about 2,000 feet (600 meters), but the mine continues down to 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)."

"The mine was declared dangerous two weeks ago, but the warning was ignored", Ahmed said to Time.com.

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