23 killed as coal mines collapse in Pak

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Another seven people died in a separate blast Saturday, which also wounded two people.

In the first incident, a total of 16 person were trapped after a gas explosion in Pir Ismail, Marwar (45 km from Quetta) at around noon.

The Associated Press reported that Pakistani officials say the death toll from methane gas explosions in two coal mines has climbed to 23.

Attaullah Khan, Pakistan's director of disaster management, on May 5 said a blast caused by a buildup of methane gas in the Marwar coalfields in Balochistan Province led to the collapse of a mine, trapping many workers.

"We have recovered all the 16 bodies from the rubble caused by the collapse in the coal mine", Mr. Atique said. At least 15 more miners were injured in the two incidents.

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It urged the government to ratify the Safety and Health in Mines Convention of the International Labour Organisation.

Most of the miners came from the same village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Shangla district, officials told Pakistan's Dawn newspaper. Other mine workers who were present in the area immediately rushed to the site and launched a rescue operation. But when rescue workers went deep inside the mine on Sunday, they found the five miners had also died. Two labourers died in a landslide on Saturday in another mine in Surrang coalfields.

Pakistan's Mineral Development Corporation leases many of them to private contractors.

Around three hours later, a mine 25 kilometres (16 miles) to the west at Spin Carez collapsed in similar circumstances, killing seven of the nine miners inside.