Death toll tops 5 as another coal mine disaster hits Iran
An explosion at a coal mine in Iran’s northern city of Damghan has killed at least six workers, state media reported Monday. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the blast.
The explosion was reported in a tunnel at a depth of 400 metres, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
While efforts to rescue the trapped miners were unsuccessful, their bodies could be recovered from under the rubble by Monday morning, it reported.
The agency also shared footage of other mining workers at the site helping retrieve the remains of their colleagues’ bodies.
“Six miners were trapped underground on Sunday when the coal mine explosion took place in Damghan,” IRNA said. However, this isn’t the first such disaster to hit Iran.
A couple of miners lost their lives in a similar disaster at the same mining site in May 2021, according to local media reports published at the time.
Lax Safety Standards And Inadequate Emergency Services Blamed
In 2017, at least 43 workers were killed in a coal mine blast at Azad Shahr city in northern Iran, triggering intense fury toward authorities.
At the time, rescue teams worked frantically through the day and into the night to reach the trapped miners, injecting oxygen into the tunnel to increase the people’s chances of survival.
The explosion was reported around 12:45 pm (local time). Ambulances, helicopters and other rescue vehicles rushed to the site as authorities tried to determine the scale of the disaster.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many mining workers had been trapped inside. Several officials blamed the blast on accumulated gas and said it was affecting rescue efforts.
While oil- and mineral-rich Iran annually consumes some 2.5 million tonnes of coal, it only extracts about 1 million tonnes from its mines every year, The Times Of Israel reported in 2017.
Two separate mining incidents in 2013 killed 11 workers, while 20 workers lost their lives in several incidents in 2009. Lax safety standards are often blamed for the fatalities.