Twenty-three miners were killed Saturday when two coal mine collapsed near Quetta, chief mines inspector told.
The first accident occurred in Marwaarh, 45 kilometres east of Quetta, which is the capital of oil and gas-rich Balochistan province, due to a gas explosion.
"The roof caved in following an explosion triggered by the accumulation of methane gas, killing 16 miners and wounding nine others, two of them seriously", Jawaid Shahwani, commissioner of Quetta Division said.
There were 30 labourers inside the mine when the explosion occurred. All the injured miners were rescued and taken to the hospital.
"We are trying our best to recover bodies but it will take time as most of the bodies are buried very deep", Shahwani said.
Later in the day, another coal mine collapsed in Sooranj area, in which seven miners were killed. Two workers were rescued in an unconscious state, while bodies of two miners were recovered Saturday night.
The rescue operation resumed Sunday morning in which bodies of five more labourers were recovered.
Protesting the incidents
The members of Mines Labour Federation protested the deaths of coal miners in Sooranj and Marwaarh, demanding the provincial government to arrange safety measures in order to prevent such incidents.
During the protest outside Quetta Press Club on Sunday, the demonstrators chanted slogans against the Balochistan government and said action should be taken against the authorities responsible for safety at coal mines in the province.
The protesters also demanded Rs2 million be given to bereaved families of the coal miners.
They were of the view that lack of safety measures at the mines lead to fatal incidents.
At least 20,000 labourers are employed in 2,500 mines across Balochistan, according to government sources. Fatalities in the coal-mining sector in the country are becoming commonplace highlighting the need for better labour protections.
At least 43 workers were killed in March 2011 when explosions triggered a collapse in a coal mine in Balochistan.