Pakistani miners killed, many feared trapped after rockslide

At least 19 people killed after a boulder fell on labourers in the Mohmand district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

At least 19 miners were killed and more than a dozen were still trapped on Tuesday after a rockslide at a marble quarry in northwest Pakistan, officials have said.

A huge boulder fell on the labourers in the Mohmand district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province overnight on Tuesday, local police chief Tariq Habib said. A senior official from Mohmand district, Hamid Iqbal, confirmed the death toll.

At least 20 to 25 workers might still be trapped, local administration official said [Photo courtesy: Provincial disaster management authority]
At least 20 to 25 workers might still be trapped, local administration official said [Photo courtesy: Provincial disaster management authority]

At least seven more bodies were retrieved from the rubble on Tuesday morning when the rescue was resumed after a brief pause, Habib said.

Twenty injured people were rescued, Muhammad Arif, the provincial minister for mines and minerals development, told AFP news agency.

At least 20 to 25 workers might still be trapped, local administration chief Iftikhar Ahmed said, amid fears that the death toll could rise.

Boulders of white marble came crashing down on workers on Monday evening in the mountainous Mohmand district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, near the border with Afghanistan.

The quarry is located in the Ziarat area of Mohmand, along the border with Afghanistan.

The area is known for its high-quality white marble, sold in Pakistan and exported to other countries.

Labourers often rest at the bottom of the mountains after long working hours.

Officials said an investigation was still under way to determine the cause of the cave-in. 

Rescue efforts are continuing with at least 20 workers still missing. The cause of the accident is still unknown, but fears are growing that the death toll will continue to rise.

Pakistan’s mines have a reputation for poor safety standards. Dozens of miners are killed each year in different safety-related incidents.

At least 43 miners were killed in the Sorange district of Balochistan in 2011 as a result of a blast at a coal mine.

In 2018, 16 miners were killed in a coal mine in Marwar, Baluchistan, after a methane gas explosion caused a roof to collapse.

AL JAZEERA NEWS

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