Death toll rises to 23 as two coal mines collapse near Quetta

Six Okara labourers gunned down in Kharan

Six Okara labourers gunned down in Kharan

At least 23 people were killed and 11 wounded after gas explosions tore through two neighbouring coal mines in southwestern Pakistan, officials said Sunday after ending their rescue operation.

Mine inspector Iftikhar Ahmed said five more bodies had been recovered from one of the mines. Ahmed said rescue operations have been completed at both sites.

The poor safety conditions in the Pakistani mines makes them prone to accidents. The explosions were not linked.

Officials said the blast was caused by a build-up of methane gas.

The Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation says that up to 200 mine workers die on average in mine accidents every year.

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He said two laborers died in a landslide on May 5 in another mine in Surrang coalfields. According to the Levies, there were seven workers inside the mine when the incident took place. "Some died on the spot, while others who were badly injured breathed their last under the rubble", Atique said. Two workers were rescued in an unconscious state, while bodies of two miners were recovered Saturday night.

Mining is considered highly unsafe in Pakistan where dozens of miners are killed each year due to lack of modern mining facilities, training and equipment.

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.

There were 30 labourers inside the mine when the explosion occurred.