London, 4 May – London, 3 May – An explosion in a coal mine in northern Iran on Wednesday killed at least 21 workers and injured scores, according to state media.
The blast occurred at 12:45 p.m. local time (0745 GMT) in the Zemestanyurt mine when workers tried to jump-start a locomotive.
“Twenty-one bodies of workers …have been taken out of the mine …So far there have been 69 injured,” a regional official in Golestan province told the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
Iranian media said more than 30 of the injured were transferred to nearby hospitals.
The semi-official Fars news agency reported earlier that more than 50 workers were trapped in a two-kilometre-long tunnel filled with gas that hampered rescue efforts.
The mine has 500 workers and the explosion happened during a change of shift, according to Fars.
This is not the first disaster to strike Iran’s mining industry. In 2013, 11 workers were killed in two separate mining incidents. In 2009, 20 workers were killed in several incidents. Lax safety standards and inadequate emergency services in mining areas often are blamed for the fatalities.
Iran extracted 1.68 million tons of coal in 2016, an increase on previous years, thanks to an easing of international sanctions, Reuters reported. It uses most in domestic steel production and exports only a fraction.
In January, the 17-story Plasco Building in the center of Tehran collapsed after a fire. Sixteen firefighters died, prompting a wave of complaints about substandard equipment and poor disaster management.
Based in part on wire reports