21 die try­ing to res­cue work­mates

New Straits Times - - World -

TEHERAN: There was little hope of find­ing any sur­vivors at a mine in north­ern Iran where 21 min­ers died try­ing to res­cue their trapped work­mates, a res­cue of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day.

The 21 died in a failed res­cue bid af­ter an ex­plo­sion on Wed­nes­day caused a tun­nel to par­tially col­lapse, news agen­cies said.

“The hope of find­ing the re­main­ing 14 min­ers alive is now min­i­mal,” Sadegh-Ali Moghadam, emer­gen­cies di­rec­tor of Golestan province, was quoted as say­ing by the of­fi­cial IRNA news agency.

Of­fi­cials had ear­lier said 32 min­ers were feared to be trapped deep un­der­ground in the Zemes­tan Yort mine.

“The bod­ies of the 21 min­ers were found at a depth of 600m,” Moghadam said, adding that oper­a­tions were con­tin­u­ing to reach the work­ers stranded at a depth of 1,000m to 1,500m.

The tun­nel caved in when meth­ane gas ex­ploded un­der­ground as work­ers tried to jump­start a lo­co­mo­tive en­gine, ac­cord­ing to ini­tial re­ports.

The res­cue op­er­a­tion had been ham­pered as the tun­nels were filled with poi­sonous gases and the min­ers were stuck at the far end of a 1,000m shaft in a mine that is around 2km long.

Three days of mourn­ing were de­clared in the province of Golestan, where the ac­ci­dent oc­curred. AFP


Emer­gency per­son­nel at­tend­ing to an in­jured coal worker at the Zemes­tan Yort mine in Golestan, north­ern Iran, yes­ter­day.

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