21 die trying to rescue workmates
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.